H.Con.Res. 27, Establishing the budget for the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2016 and Setting for Appropriate Budgetary Levels for Fiscal Years 2017 through 2025

H.Con.Res. 27

Establishing the budget for the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2016 and Setting for Appropriate Budgetary Levels for Fiscal Years 2017 through 2025

Sponsor
Rep. Tom Price

Committee
Budget

Date
March 24, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, the House will begin consideration of H.Con.Res. 27, a concurrent resolution Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2016 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2017 through 2025, under a rule.  H.Con.Res. 27 was released on March 17, 2015 by Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA).  It was marked up on March 18-19, 2015 by the House Budget Committee and was ordered reported by a vote of 22-13.[1]

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[1] See House Report 114-47, at 205.

Bill Summary

H.Con.Res. 27 establishes the budget for fiscal year 2016 and budget levels for fiscal years 2017 through 2025.  The budget achieves balance by 2024 without raising taxes, reducing total spending by $5.5 trillion over the next ten years.[2]  The budget brings down spending as a percentage of GDP to 18.3 percent in 2025.[3]  “CBO says a small budget surplus of 0.1 percent of GDP in 2026 will eventually grow to 2.1 percent of GDP by 2040.”[4]   In turn, debt held by the public will decline from “more than 74 percent of GDP today to 55 percent of GDP in 2025 to just 18 percent of GDP by 2040—a glide path to fully paying off the national debt.”[5]  Moreover, the resolution calls upon Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.  According to the House Budget Committee, the budget reaches this goal by addressing the following key areas:

Protecting the Nation: The budget rejects the President’s irresponsible defense spending request, which ignores current law by requesting $38 billion above the discretionary caps set by current law.  The Republican budget prioritizes national defense with the creation of a deficit-neutral “Defense Readiness and Modernization Fund.”[6]  Combined with $90 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations funding for the Department of Defense (DOD), the FY 2016 budget provides more than $613 billion for total defense spending – higher than the President’s budget request.[7] The budget provides the funds necessary “to compensate, train, maintain, and equip the military forces of the United States.”[8]  It also fully funds our commitment to veterans.

Expanding Opportunity: The budget proposes higher education, job training, and tax reform policies to foster economic growth.  The budget resolution calls for a fairer, simpler tax code, which would: 1) simplify the tax code to make it fairer for American families and businesses; 2) reduce the amount of time and resources it takes to comply with tax laws; 3) lower tax rates for individuals and consolidate the current tax brackets into fewer brackets; 4) repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax; 5) reduce the corporate tax rate; and 6) transition the tax code into a more competitive system of international taxation in a manner that does not discriminate against any type of industry.[9]  Additionally, the budget calls for consolidation of duplicative Federal job-training programs and improved coordination of job training programs.[10]  Finally, the Budget promotes policies to make the Pell Grant program sustainable over the long-term.[11]

Strengthening the Safety Net: The budget envisions converting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) into state flexibility allotments after 2021.  This would allow states to tailor their SNAP program to meet the needs of their low-income population.  The budget also converts Medicaid into state flexibility allotments, which would allow each state to tailor the program to meet its needs.[12]  It also repeals the Medicaid expansion called for under Obamacare.  Additional reforms include 2) eliminating the failed Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) housing subsidies; 3) reforming Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to create a sliding scale of benefits for children on SSI and to review mental-health categories in the children’s SSI program; and 4) eliminating the ability of individuals to receive both Unemployment Insurance benefits and Disability Insurance benefits.

Securing Seniors’ Retirement: The budget repeals all of Obamacare, including all of its taxes, regulations, and mandates.  Furthermore, it repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board.  It preserves Medicare for those in or near retirement, and strengthens the program for younger generations.  Specifically, those who enter Medicare before 2024 will remain in the traditional Medicare system and the program and its benefits will be unchanged.  For future retirees—those who enter the program in 2024—the budget proposes a “premium support” approach that allows retirees to choose between “private plans competing alongside the traditional fee-for-service Medicare program on a newly created Medicare Exchange.”[13]  Retirees would receive a premium-support payment to pay for or offset premiums.  The budget also ends Obamacare’s raid on the Medicare Trust Fund and instead directs any potential Medicare savings towards shoring up the program.  The budget begins the process of Social Security reform by requiring both the President and Congress to submit plans to restore solvency to the Social Security Trust Fund.  The budget reduces the size of the federal workforce and reforms civil-service pensions by “call[ing] for federal employees—including Members of Congress and staff—to make greater contributions toward their own retirement.”[14]

Restoring Fairness: The budget strengthens American energy security by expanding energy production.  Furthermore, it removes barriers to getting domestically produced energy to global markets.[15]  The budget eliminates corporate welfare within the Department of Commerce by removing subsidies to businesses, which “distort the economy” and “impose unfair burdens on taxpayers.”[16]  The budget calls for privatization of the government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage giants and expands the use of fair-value accounting principles to score federally backed housing-related and student loan programs.

Reforming the Budget Process: The budget reforms the budget process in several ways. It would create a budget point of order against legislation that increases net mandatory spending by $5 billion over the long-term.  The budget also calls on congressional committees to regularly review programs for waste, fraud, and abuse.

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[2] Id. at 137.
[3] Id. at 137.
[4] See Id.
[5] See Id.
[6] Id. at 54.
[7] See Id.
[8] Id. at 54.
[9] Id. at 129.
[10] Id. at 86.
[11] See Id.
[12] Id. at 106.
[13] Id. at 132.
[14] Id. at 132.
[15] Id. at 120.
[16] Id. at 79.

Background

The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 sets forth the federal budget process, including the requirement that Congress produce a budget each year.  House Republicans have consistently fulfilled this obligation in recent years, most recently on April 10, 2014 by passing H.Con.Res 96 by a vote of 219-205 (Roll Call #177).

Cost

There is no score associated with the budget resolution.

Additional Information

For additional information, see the following materials provided by the House Budget Committee:

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.