The House resolution aims to eliminate budget deficits by 2023, but it would increase the national debt by about $2 trillion by then. The Senate plan would allow the debt to grow by $6 trillion over the same period and would not balance the budget.
In terms of policy, the House resolution would slash spending on programs for the poor, repeal President Obama’s health-care law and partially privatize Medicare for future beneficiaries, who are currently 55 and younger.
The Senate plan calls for nearly $1 trillion in new taxes over the next decade and modest reductions in projected government spending relative to the GOP-favored proposal.
Obama’s 2014 budget request will call for sizable cuts to Medicare and Social Security, in addition to more than $580 million in new tax revenue over the next decade, according to an overview from White House officials.
The plan also would eliminate $1.2 trillion worth of automatic spending cuts scheduled to take place over 10 years under the sequester, which took effect last month after Congress failed to reach an agreement on an alternative deficit-reduction deal.
In recent years, the White House budget has served as a sort of political statement, for the most part containing proposals that Republicans would reject. This year’s proposal represents a conciliatory approach, showing that the president is willing to rankle the base of his party with entitlement cuts for the sake of a bargain.
“It looks like a genuine attempt to open up the dialogue for compromise,” Ornstein said. “The president has made it clear that he’ll step into the entitlement thicket and take the heat that comes along with it, but Congress is going to have to come up with revenue.”
That leaves lawmakers to reconcile their differences over spending cuts and taxes. Whether or not they can avoid the negotiating gridlock that has plagued Washington in recent years is a question that will be answered in the coming months.
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