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House Reconciliation Legislation

 May 9, 2012
 

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Chairman
Committee on the Budget
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
 
  The Honorable Chris Van Hollen
Ranking Member
Committee on the Budget
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
 

Dear Chairman Ryan and Ranking Member Van Hollen:

RE: House Reconciliation Legislation 

In previous communications, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has expressed its support for a comprehensive bipartisan strategy to rein in annual federal deficits and manage the nation’s long-term debt. We have stated our support for states accepting their share of reduced federal spending within a comprehensive plan. We have also made it clear that in order for NCSL to support specific legislation the plan should not shift costs to states, create new unfunded mandates, preempt state authority or present imbalanced modifications to mandatory and entitlement programs. 

Overall, the reconciliation package and H. Con. Res. 112 disproportionately affect states. Well over half of the FY 2013 savings in the reconciliation legislation results from cost shifts to states (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program administrative changes and the elimination of the Social Services Block Grant), preemption (all of the liability reform provisions) and one-sided savings in state-federal partnerships (some of the Medicaid provisions). Additionally, the significant domestic discretionary savings achieved through budget caps and, potentially, sequestration in the Budget Control Act are likely to be in programs where unfunded mandates exist or will compromise existing state-federal partnerships. This is not to say that some of these recommendations are without merit. In totality, however, states are expected to carry the brunt of the fiscal discipline imposed without tools for achieving similar savings at the state level. We respectively urge you to meet with us to find a more balanced approach to accomplish what we believe is a mutually shared goal. 

We recognize that the House reconciliation legislation and H. Con. Res. 112 offer a blueprint for curbing annual federal deficits and growth in long-term national debt. It puts most fiscal issues on the table, although we recognize that details for a major reworking of the federal tax code and tax expenditures are not a part of the underlying budget resolution or its reconciliation instructions. Given state experiences with closing budget gaps of over $500 billion nationwide over the previous four fiscal years, state legislators distinctly understand the challenges federal policymakers confront and commend you for your efforts to develop a plan with the reconciliation legislation before you this week and H. Con. Res. 112.

For additional information, please contact Michael Bird (202-624-8686; michael.bird@ncsl.org) and Jeff Hurley (202-624-7753; jeff.hurley@ncsl.org). Thank you for consideration of this request.

Respectfully,

Representative Dan Flynn
Texas House of Representatives
Chair, NCSL Budgets and Revenue Committee
 
Representative Jay Kaufman
Massachusetts House of Representatives
Chair, NCSL Budgets and Revenue Committee
 

cc: Members of the United States House of Representatives

Attachment: NCSL Deficit Reduction Priorities