The evening of December 10, 2013 House and Senate Budget Committee Chairs Ryan (R-WI) and Murray (D-WA) called a press conference to unveil the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. The bill is intended to relieve some of the impacts of the budget caps set by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) after the so-called Super Committee failed to deliver any deficit reduction.
The package includes ten years’ worth of deficit reducers that range from increased Transportation Security Administration fees to increased pension contributions from new federal employees to extending BCA-mandated reductions in Medicare provider payments for two more years. All told, the deficit reduction totals $85 billion, $63 billion of which is used to increase spending levels in fiscal year 2014 and 2015. While the increased spending falls in the first two years of the ten year package, the bulk (55%) of the deficit reduction measures wouldn’t occur until the last two years of the deal – in 2022 and 2023. To put that in perspective, those cuts would occur partway through the second term of the next President.
Taxpayers for Common Sense believes that the only way to address our long-term fiscal challenges is to make hard, but common sense choices – including cutting programs that don’t work and eliminating tax breaks that persist because of political influence. Relying on accounting tricks and savings that may never occur does not bring us closer to a more sustainable fiscal future. So, following up on our deficit reducing reports Super Cuts for the Super Committee (2011), Sliding Past Sequestration (2012), and Common Sense Proposal to Rappel the Fiscal Cliff (2012), TCS is releasing Real Savings, Real Deficit Reduction: Relieving Budget Caps with Common Sense Savings in Fiscal Year 2014.
The Real Savings report includes proposals totaling $100 billion worth of deficit reduction in one year. This includes discretionary spending cuts, changes in mandatory spending, and repeal or modification of some tax expenditures. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of TCS proposals, but rather a sampling of some of the work the Budget Committees should have done if they wanted to undo some or all of the BCA mandated budget caps.
TCS urges lawmakers to come up with a better, more fiscally responsible and more credible budget plan.