House and Senate Republicans this week are unveiling separate budget plans for Fiscal 2016, emphasizing the need for deficit reduction but also showing some differences that could complicate this year’s appropriations work.
The House plan, released Tuesday, calls for $5.6 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years and a balanced budget in 2024. But it relies on questionable assumptions about reduced spending while offering revenue projections that are at odds with recent tax-cut legislation in the House.
Senate Republicans are releasing their plan today, and both House and Senate budget committees will be considering their respective plans today.
“Balancing the budget by a specific date provides a clear, understandable goal to guide legislation,” said Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director, in discussing the House plan. “As an economic matter, however, the more relevant concern is not whether balance is achieved in a targeted year but whether the policies enacted pursuant to this budget reduce the debt as a share of the economy and make sure that it remains on a responsible downward path.”
Given the political realities in Washington, it is highly unlikely that substantial increases in defense spending can be financed by even deeper cuts in domestic discretionary spending.
Bixby is also skeptical of House plans for another Social Security commission, saying the impending insolvency of the Disability Insurance trust fund and other challenges really require legislation rather than a new commission.
Further analysis of the congressional budget plans will be available soon on Concord’s website.