Substitute Amendments to H.Con.Res. 27, Establishing the budget for the United States Government for FY 2016 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for FY 2017-2025

H.Con.Res. 27

Substitute Amendments to H.Con.Res. 27, Establishing the budget for the United States Government for FY 2016 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for FY 2017-2025

Committee
Budget

Date
March 25, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, March 25, 2015, the House will consider amendments in the nature of a substitute for 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.

Amendments

1)         Reps. Grijalva (D-AZ), Ellison (D-MN), Pocan (D-WI), Lee (D-CA), Schakowsky (D-IL), Conyers (D-MI), and McDermott (D-WA)/Congressional Progressive Caucus Substitute Amendment #4 The Progressive Caucus substitute increase total spending relative to the Republican budget by $9.3 trillion over the next ten years.  It raises taxes by $7.0 trillion over the next ten years and increases the national debt by $2.8 trillion relative to the Republican budget.  The Progressive Caucus substitute increases deficits $2.4 trillion relative to the Republican budget.  It cuts defense spending by $529 billion compared to the Republican budget.  The Progressive Caucus budget never reaches balance.  It increases spending for the broken federal job training system (and expands the program); pours more into SNAP; increases spending for more federal employees; and creates a federal infrastructure bank.  It also includes comprehensive immigration reform.  In order to increase tax revenues, the Progressive Caucus substitute complicates the tax code by adding new tax brackets for upper-income individuals and small businesses, and reverts back to Clinton-level rates for those making more than $250,000.  It taxes capital gains and dividends as ordinary income—i.e. at rates as high as 49%; institutes a “progressive” estate tax with rates between 55% and 65% (up from the current rate of 40%); caps the benefit of itemized tax deductions at 28%; and imposes a carbon tax.

2)         Reps. Butterfield (D-NC), Scott (D-VA), Lee (D-CA), and Moore (D-WI)/Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Substitute Amendment #2 The CBC substitute increases total spending relative to the Republican budget by $7.0 trillion over the next ten years.  It raises taxes by $3.2 trillion over the next ten years and increases the national debt by $4.0 trillion relative to the Republican budget.  The CBC budget proposal never achieves balance.  Compared to the Republican budget, the CBC proposal has $4.0 trillion in higher deficits and cuts defense spending by $314 billion, proposing even smaller levels than those requested by the President.  It increases the federal minimum wage, despite findings from nonpartisan CBO that this would eliminate thousands f jobs.  It calls for an additional $13 billion in spending to be poured into job training programs, even though the Government Accountability Office has reported that forty-seven overlapping Federal job training programs spent approximately $18 billion in 2009.  It calls for even more spending on the Green Jobs program, ignoring the $16 billion already spent by the Administration on “stimulus” grants in this area.  It increases transportation spending by billions, largely directing the funds towards the creation of a nationwide high-speed rail network instead of the core highway system.  It increases spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by reversing bipartisan reductions made in the most recent Farm Bill.  It increases tax revenues by limiting the deductibility of corporate debt interest payments; taxing capital gains and dividends as ordinary income; enacting a 5.4% “surcharge” on high earners; imposing a “financial speculation tax” on investors; and increasing the estate tax rate from 40% to the 2009 level of 45%.

3)         Reps. Stutzman (R-IN) and Flores (R-TX)/Republican Study Committee (RSC) Substitute Amendment #6 The substitute Amendment inserts the text of the Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) Budget for FY 2015.  The RSC Budget balances by fiscal year 2021 (within four years).  It reduces average outlays to 18.2 percent of GDP, and sets discretionary spending at $975 billion for FY 2016.  The budget freezes top level spending for the first two years, and allows increases on pace with inflation each year thereafter.  The RSC proposal reduces non-defense discretionary spending to $405 billion in FY 2016, with spending reductions totaling $1.3 trillion between FY 2016 and FY 2025 compared to the current baseline.  Additionally, it cuts $1.7 trillion in unnecessary mandatory spending (with the exception of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security) over the next decade.  The RSC budget also provides $570 billion in base defense spending in FY 2016, and $6.4 trillion over the next decade.  Moreover, the RSC Budget repeals Obamacare, eliminating $2.042 trillion in spending over ten years, and replaces it with RSC’s American Health Care Reform Act.  The RSC Budget also makes changes to Medicare, increasing the Medicare eligibility age at a rate of two months per year for those born in 1960 or later, until the full age of eligibility reaches 67.  In 2020, it transitions Medicare into a premium-support system for those born in or after 1955.  Changes in Social Security follow a similar path, increasing the full-retirement age for social security benefits by two months per year for those born in 1962 or later, until the full retirement age reaches 70.  The RSC budget would change the formula for cost of living adjustments (COLA) in Social Security by adopting the chained CPI-U measure of inflation, which takes into account consumer choice.  Additionally, the RSC Budget provides states with a Medicaid block grant, and gives them the ability to determine Medicaid eligibility benefits.  The RSC proposal also proposes tax reform that is revenue neutral on a dynamic basis.

4)         Rep. Van Hollen (D-MD)/Democratic Caucus Substitute Amendment #5 The Amendment raises taxes by an additional $1.9 trillion, and increases spending by more than $6.3 trillion over the next ten years.  The Democratic Caucus Substitute never reaches balance. In fact, the deficit over the next ten years is projected to be $4.6 trillion higher than the Republican budget proposal despite the significant tax increase.  The Democratic substitute decreases defense spending by $314 billion relative to the Republican budget and offers no strategy for tackling entitlement programs, including healthcare.

5)         Rep. Price (R-GA) Substitute Amendment #7The Amendment is identical to the reported budget resolution.  The total level of new budget authority for the Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism Function (Function 970) remains at $94 billion for FY 2016.  The amendment also retains a deficit-neutral reserve fund for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism in section 513, which requires offsets for the use of up to $20.5 billion in additional OCO funds above $73.5 billion.

6)         Rep. Price (R-GA) Substitute Amendment #8 The amendment increases new budget authority for the Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism Function (Function 970) by $2 billion, from $94 billion to $96 billion in Fiscal Year 2016.  Even with the increase in overall budget authority and resulting outlays, the budget resolution remains in balance in Fiscal Year 2024 and thereafter. The amendment also strikes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism in section 513 of the reported resolution, which requires offsets for the use of up to $20.5 billion in additional OCO funds above $73.5 billion.

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.