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House Meets At: First Vote Predicted: Last Vote Predicted:

9:00 a.m.: Legislative Business

Five “One Minutes”

9:30 – 10:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Complete Consideration of H.Con.Res. 96The Republican Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Resolution (Rep. Ryan (WI) – Budget). (4 Hours of Debate). The Republican Budget, submitted by Chairman Paul Ryan, contains $5 trillion in spending cuts, including cuts to nondefense discretionary appropriations of $791 billion below the Budget Control Act’s sequestration level and $1.3 trillion below the amount needed to maintain current services.  It would end the Medicare guarantee and turn it into a voucher program.  It would also pocket $732 billion by turning Medicaid into a capped block grant. The Republican Budget retains all of the roughly $2 trillion in savings from the Affordable Care Act, but repeals all the benefits, despite the fact that the law has withstood over 50 votes to repeal or undermine the law. It would make at least $125 billion in cuts to the SNAP program. The Republican Budget combines many of the same Republican policies rejected by the American people with magic asterisks designed to hide even more harsh policies required to make its numbers add up.

The Republican Budget continues to protect defense spending from sequestration, adding $483 billion to the Pentagon’s budget, while more than doubling sequestration’s nondefense reductions, cutting $791 billion beginning in FY16, after December’s two-year Bipartisan Budget Agreement ends.  That cuts nondefense funding by $1.3 trillion below the amount needed to maintain current services. It not only continues the “meat-ax” approach to reducing the deficit through discretionary cuts, but also claims $966 billion in “other mandatory” cuts while giving no specifics on what policies would be implemented to achieve a majority of those cuts. Many programs in this “other mandatory” category serve the needy and the disadvantaged, harming the people with the least means while asking nothing of the wealthy. 

The Republican Budget also proposes tax reform that would lower the top corporate and individual rates to 25% and repeal the AMT, which would together result in well over $3 trillion in lost revenue.  It claims to replace these trillions of dollars by eliminating tax preferences – but fails to name even one of them specifically.  These tax cuts for the wealthy would require raising taxes for the middle class to remain revenue neutral.  Further, despite repealing the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Budget cynically keeps over $2 trillion in savings – including the same Medicare savings Chairman Ryan criticized during his Vice Presidential campaign in 2012 – that comes from the law.  

The Republican Budget Resolution is very similar to the budgets that Republicans have proposed in recent years and the American people summarily dismissed each time.  It is once again not a serious document, avoids tough decisions, and forces the American people to play ‘fill in the blanks’ with the details.  It is an ideological, message document for hard-line conservatives that slashes investments in innovation, education, and infrastructure, which puts our economic recovery at risk and threatens American jobs.  It does not reduce the deficit in a responsible way, instead placing the burden of deficit reduction onto seniors, the middle class, working families, and the most vulnerable while refusing to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute.  It ends the Medicare guarantee; repeals the Affordable Care Act; harms domestic discretionary spending immensely, while increasing defense spending; and achieves deficit reduction on the backs of the middle class and seniors.  This budget rejects a big, bold, and balanced approach to reducing our nation’s deficit. Members are urged to VOTE NO on H.Con.Res. 96.

The Rule, which was adopted on Tuesday, makes in order the two following remaining amendments in the nature of substitutes and provides for ten minutes of final general debate time controlled by the Budget Committee upon the conclusion of amendment consideration.

Woodall/Scalise Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (RSC Budget) (30 Minutes of Debate). The RSC Budget achieves balance in FY 2018, or in just 4 years.  It accelerates and escalates many of the most drastic changes in Chairman Ryan’s Republican Budget Resolution. It cuts an additional $2 trillion in spending from the Republican Budget. In addition to repealing the Affordable Care Act, the RSC Budget starts Chairman Ryan’s Medicare voucher plan in 2019.  Like the Republican Budget, it block-grants Medicaid and CHIP, but freezes them both at the Medicaid-only’s FY 2015 level instead of growing with inflation, which amounts to a $1.2 trillion cut. While it accepts the entire Republican Budget defense increase, it cuts total discretionary back to the FY 2008 topline of $950 billion and freezes it there for 4 years, requiring $1.5 trillion in cuts from nondefense discretionary programs over the decade, or twice the amount in the Republican Budget. The RSC Budget’s spending cuts add up to more than $7.4 trillion.  While the RSC Budget doesn’t include any new revenue, it does propose to sunset the entire tax code at the end of 2017, creating a new fiscal cliff of epic proportions.  The RSC Budget moves the Republican Budget to the right, disinvesting in America’s future while pushing the burden onto seniors and the most vulnerable. Members are urged to VOTE NO on the RSC Budget.

Van Hollen Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (Democratic Alternative Budget) (30 Minutes of Debate). The Democratic Budget makes investments in job creation and education, includes tax reform that promotes growth and tax fairness, and assumes an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10. It protects the Medicare guarantee and Medicaid services, preserves Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage expansions and patient protections, and ends tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans while extending tax relief for the middle-class. It emphasizes job creation, while making key investments in America’s future: increasing education and infrastructure investments, including a new early childhood education program and $302 billion for immediate transportation priorities, and maintaining others priorities eviscerated by the Republican Budget, including Pell Grants and student loans. It closes corporate tax loopholes, and expands low and middle-income tax incentives for work and school.  The Democratic Budget offsets the costs of these initiatives by making smart, targeted spending cuts and raising revenue from ending tax breaks for millionaires and special interests. It also maintains the Bipartisan Budget Agreement for FY 2015, but ends sequestration for mandatory programs in FY 2015 and for nondefense appropriations in FY 2016, replacing it with deficit reduction through a balanced approach that would incorporate H.R. 15, the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, that would provide over $900 billion toward reducing the deficit over the next two decades. The Democratic Budget meets these national priorities within a fiscally responsible framework that reduces the deficit to a sustainable 2.3% of GDP by 2024, putting debt as a share of the economy on a sustainable downward path, while calling for the development of a balanced plan to address projected long-term deficits. Members are urged to VOTE YES on the Democratic Alternative.

Bill Text for H.Con.Res. 96:
PDF Version

Background for H.Con.Res. 96:
House Report (HTML Version)
House Report (PDF Version)
Summary of Substitute Amendments

The Daily Quote

“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) carries enormous clout within his party, and he’s going to need it. A number of rank-and-file House Republicans…are signaling that they will probably give Mr. Ryan the benefit of the doubt and vote to approve his budget resolution on Thursday. He can only afford to lose roughly a dozen GOP defections, or the budget resolution likely won’t pass… ‘We couldn’t even keep the promise we made a year or two ago,’ said Rep. Thomas Massie (R., Ky.), referring to the fiscal 2015 overall spending level, which lawmakers agreed to increase recently. ‘I think it should be bolder than it is and I can’t support it.’ Rep. Paul Broun (R., Ga.) has also said he won’t vote for Mr. Ryan’s plan, and several others are likely to vote no as well. There is also a large group of lawmakers who are holding their cards close to their vests. ‘I’m undecided on the budget,’ said Rep. Raul Labrador (R., Idaho). ‘I have no problems with the policies in the budget,’ he said. ‘I just don’t know if the Republican majority has the resolve to actually do what the budget says it will do.’”

-    Wall Street Journal, 4/10/2014