H.Con.Res. 25 Substitutes: Substitute Amendments to H.Con.Res. 25

H.Con.Res. 25

Substitute Amendments to H.Con.Res. 25

Sen. Bernard Sanders

March 20, 2013 (113th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, the House began consideration of H.Con.Res. 25, a concurrent resolution establishing the budget for the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2014 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2015 through 2023, under a rule. The following substitute amendments were made in order.

Bill Summary

Representative Mulvaney (R-SC) Substitute Amendment – the substitute amendment inserts the text of S.Con.Res.8, the Senate Democrat Budget Resolution.   According to Republican Members of the Senate Budget Committee, S.Con.Res. 8 never achieves balance. It does not reform Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security.  Nor does it do anything to address our debt and deficits.  The Senate budget “contains total 10-year spending of $46.4 trillion, an increase of $645 billion relative to a current law baseline that excludes war spending.  In its baseline, the budget resolution includes a repeal of the Budget Control Act sequester, estimated by the CBO to cost $995 billion, plus an additional $228 billion in interest costs. By assuming the sequester is canceled, but not proposing any specific offset, the Democratic budget can claim $1.2 trillion in higher deficit reduction. The resolution would increase mandatory spending by $25 billion over the 10 year period.  The tax increase in the Democratic budget resolution is a minimum of $923 billion over 10 years. If reserve funds relating to sequester repeal and stimulus are used as recommended by Budget Committee Chairman Murray in her report, that tax increase would reach $1.5 trillion. The Committee print makes it clear that Democrats intend to increase taxes by an additional $580 to offset infrastructure increases and to turn off part of the sequester.  Democrats say that their budget resolution reduces deficits by $1.85 trillion. However, actual deficit reduction is significantly less since the Democrats measure the effects of their policies relative to a baseline that they created (not the CBO baseline), which assumes the sequester is canceled but not offset, among other gimmicks. There is no deficit reduction in this budget in the first year, 2014.  Gross debt at the end of the 10-year budget window will be $24.4 trillion, or 94 percent of GDP under the Democrat budget. By comparison, gross debt under an analogous CBO current law baseline would be $24.6 trillion.[1]

Representatives Fudge (D-OH), Scott (D-VA), Moore (D-WI), and Lee (D-CA)/Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Substitute Amendment – the CBC substitute amendment increases spending relative to the Republican budget by $5.7 trillion over ten years. It raises taxes by $2.8 trillion and increases deficits and the debt by more than $2.9 trillion.  Defense spending is reduced by $224 billion compared to the Republican budget. Revenues are increased by: raising rates on individuals and families that make between $250,000 and $450,000; imposing a surcharge of 5.4 percent on income that exceeds one million dollars; taxing capital gains and dividends at ordinary income rates; and increasing taxes on corporations by more than one trillion dollars. The CBC substitute amendment increases spending for the “green economy,” creates a public health insurance option; and calls for $240 billion in increased spending for education and job training programs.  Finally, the CBC substitute amendment calls for increasing transportation funding by $255 billion; increasing pay for federal employees by $41 billion over the next ten years; and increasing funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by reinstating the stimulus increases to SNAP benefits that were scaled back to pay for increased spending on child nutrition programs. 

Representatives Grijalva (D-AZ), Ellison (D-MN), Edwards (D-MD), Lee (D-CA), McDermott (D-WA), Pocan (D-WI), and Schakowsky (D-IL)/Congressional Progressive Caucus Substitute Amendment – the Progressive substitute amendment increases spending by more than $8.7 trillion relative to the Republican budget; raises taxes by more than $5.7 trillion, increases the deficits by $3 trillion relative to the Republican budget; and increases the debt by $3.6 trillion.  Defense spending is reduced by more than $658 billion as compared to the Republican budget. Revenues are raised by reverting marginal tax rates back to 36 and 39 percent for those making more than $200,000; extending the stimulus-related expansion of the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the child tax credit;[2] creating five new tax brackets for upper income individuals and small businesses;[3] taxing capital gains and dividends at ordinary income rates; implementing a progressive estate tax with rates between 55-65 percent; imposing a $25 per ton tax on CO2 on polluters and providing a 25 percent rebate of all revenues in the form of refundable credits for lower income Americans;  enacting a tax on derivatives, credit default swaps, and other financial products; and capping itemized deductions at 28 percent. The Progressive substitute amendment establishes a public health insurance option in the health care law; calls for trillions in new domestic spending; increases transportation and infrastructure spending; expands the current job training system, increases spending on elementary education; and increases spending on SNAP.

Woodall (R-GA), Scalise (R-LA)/Republican Study Committee (RSC) Substitute Amendment – the RSC substitute amendment achieves balance within four years.  It reduces baseline revenue to 18.5 percent of GDP and sets discretionary spending for FY 2014 at $950 billion. It repeals both Obamacare and the American Taxpayer Relief Act in their entirety.  The RSC substitute amendment grows defense funding from $552 billion in FY 2014 to $678 billion in FY 2023 and reduces non-defense discretionary spending from $398 billion in 2014 to $392 billion in 2023.   The RSC substitute amendment preserves Medicare for those ages 60 and older and gradually raises the Medicare eligibility age for those born in 1959 and after.  The RSC substitute amendment “block grants” Medicaid and CHIP at current funding levels over the next ten years.  With respect to Social Security, the RSC substitute amendment gradually raises the age of full retirement to 70 for individuals born in 1962 and after and changes the formula for Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLA) by adopting a more accurate measure of inflation (chained-CPI).  Finally, the RSC substitute amendment proposes tax reform consistent with the Jobs Through Growth Act of 2012, which includes, but is not limited to, repealing the alternative minimum taxing;  lowering corporate tax rate (25 percent); and allowing individual taxpayers to elect an alternative income tax system in lieu of existing rates.

Representative Van Hollen (D-MD) Democratic Caucus Substitute Amendment – the Democrat substitute amendment increases spending by $5.1 trillion more than the Republican budget; raises taxes by more than $1.2 trillion more than the Republican budget; has $3.9 trillion higher deficits than the Republican budget; and adds $4 trillion more to the national debt than the Republican budget. It also cuts an additional $224 billion from defense programs.  The Democrat amendment raises revenue by closing loopholes on wealthy Americans as well as loopholes for oil and gas companies. The Democrat amendment leaves in place the health care law; cuts Medicare provider payments by $141 billion and other mandatory programs by $70 billion; and continues stimulus spending – increasing overall spending by $476 billion.

[1] See Senate Policy Committee Budget Summary on S.Con.Res. 8.

[2] It should be noted that these two credits were expanded in H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act.

[3] $1-10 million: 45 percent; $10-20 million: 46 percent; $20-100 million: 48 percent; $100 million: 48 percent; and $1 billion and over: 49 percent.