Bipartisan Budget Proposal Dulls Near-term Blow of Sequestration

Published: December 11, 2013

CONGRESSPolicy and LegislationSequestration

Late Tuesday, December 10, 2013, House and Senate negotiators announced they’d reached agreement on a two-year budget deal. The plan comes just ahead of the December 13th budget conference deadline, and it proposes top-line budget authority figures that would temper the spending cuts of sequestration over the next two years.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, proposed by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA), lays out top-line spending levels for the next two fiscal years, funding agencies through the fall of 2015. For the current fiscal year, the plan essentially splits the difference between the Senate and House budgets for overall discretionary budget authority.

This bipartisan plan would reduce spending cuts by $63 billion over two years, split evenly between defense and non-defense programs. This relief is offset by savings elsewhere in the budget through deficit reduction provisions, elimination of unobligated forfeiture funds at the Department of Justice and Department of Treasury, as well as additional mandatory savings and non-tax revenue. These savings combine to total approximately $85 billion. The plan expects to save $28 billion over ten years by extending the percentage of sequestered mandatory spending in 2021 into 2022 and 2023.

The House of Representatives is expected take up the proposal for vote Thursday, December 12, 2013. After that, it will go to the Senate. If the bill is signed into law, the real work around appropriations will start as committees begin negotiating spending bills to meet the January 15, 2014 deadline.