House passes FY 2014 Budget Resolution; Senate Kicks Off Its Own

Published: March 14, 2013

Acquisition ReformBudgetCONGRESSHealth CarePolicy and LegislationPublic FinanceSequestration

On March 13, the House Budget Committee passed the FY 2014 budget blueprint from Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The structure of the plan drives a $7 billion surplus by 2023. According to The Hill, the plan is based largely on $600 billion in new tax revenue established in the American Taxpayer Relief Act (the legislative hook that kept the government from going over the “fiscal cliff” in January), as well as $716 billion in Medicare cuts originally established in the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). Although Ryan opposed those cuts during his stint as Vice Presidential candidate last year, they figure prominently into his approach to deficit reduction.
Meanwhile, the Senate Budget Committee will begin its markup sessions on its own budget plan on March 14. What is interesting to note is that, while the House plan is mum on the subject of sequestration, the Senate version very clearly states an intention to “Fully replace the harmful cuts from sequestration with smart, balanced, and responsible deficit reduction.”
In the grand scheme of things (and on paper), the House and Senate versions don’t vary significantly from each other. The Senate proposal for Discretionary Budget Authority is $80 billion more than the House version, but the difference shrinks down to $16 billion by 2023. While $80 billion is a whole lot of money to me, it’s a rounding error when it comes to federal spending. 
Source: Summary tables, “The Path to Prosperity: A Responsible, Balanced Budget” (House), “Foundation for Growth” (Senate)
While the topline numbers suggest a chance at compromise, the two diverge significantly on the path to those numbers. As noted earlier, the Senate version replaces sequestration which won’t be an easy sell. And Ryan’s version basically relies on the elimination of Obamacare (but also relies on the additional revenue that Obamacare would bring in).
Source: Summary tables, “The Path to Prosperity: A Responsible, Balanced Budget” (House
That’s not going to go over well in the Senate, the House will not be a fan of repealing sequestration, so ultimately both versions are likely dead in the water.