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House Leaders Unveil Budget Plan

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April 1, 2014

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House Leaders Unveil Budget Plan

On April 1, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled his FY 2015 budget resolution, which is scheduled to be considered by the committee on April 2 and then by the full House as early as next week.

The main purpose of a budget resolution is to establish overall spending totals under which the Appropriations Committees will work as they allocate funding. Technically a budget resolution was not needed to fulfill that role this year due to the budget deal Congress agreed to in December, but it still provides insights into long-term plans of Rep. Ryan and House Republicans.

Rep. Ryan's budget proposal would maintain the $1.014 trillion discretionary spending cap for FY 2015, as was previously agreed to, as well as this year's split of funds between domestic and defense spending. However, beginning in FY 2016, the budget would cut $5.1 trillion in order to balance the budget in 10 years.

On the discretionary funding side, the budget proposed to increase cuts made by sequestration for domestic programs like education and workforce development by shifting all of the cuts scheduled for defense starting in FY 2016 to non-defense discretionary programs, lowering that spending cap from $492 billion to $450 billion, an 8.5% cut. By the end of the ten-year window included in the budget, non-defense discretionary programs would be cut by 22%. In addition, some mandatory funding, such as that for Pell Grants, is shifted to the discretionary side of the budget, making the funding situation more difficult.

Under the scenarios laid out in the proposal, funding for all education and workforce development programs will be subject to very deep cuts. While the budget resolution is not binding, even if approved by the full House, it sets the tone for future budget negotiations.

The Senate does not plan to consider a budget resolution this year, choosing instead to move forward on appropriations bills under the agreed-upon spending cap. Work on those bills is expected to begin soon.

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