On April 1, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the fourth iteration of his "Path to Prosperity," a 99-page document outlining a budgetary framework to determine spending, revenue and other budgetary considerations for FY 2015 and beyond. The House budget resolution is similar to previous versions offered by Ryan, recommending revenue neutral tax reform, restructuring entitlement programs and proposing to balance the federal budget in 10 years.
"The Path to Prosperity" abides by the spending caps agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act, legislation enacted in late 2013 and devised by Ryan and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA). The House budget resolution provides $1.014 trillion in discretionary spending in FY 2015, with $521 billion allotted for defense and $492 billion in funding for non-defense discretionary spending. After the upcoming fiscal year, the budget resolution would break from statutory discretionary caps and boost spending for defense programs at the expense of non-defense discretionary spending. Overall, "The Path to Prosperity" would reduce federal spending by more than $5 trillion, including $850 billion in deficit savings, over the next 10 years and allow for a budget surplus in FY 2024.
It’s important to note that final adoption of a joint budget resolution will not be attainable. Murray previously announced the Senate will not offer or mark-up a spending blueprint for FY 2015, and will instead use the aforementioned Bipartisan Budget Act as the framework for the upcoming fiscal year. View the full budget resolution
- The resolution does not “embrace” any particular tax plan, but calls on Congress to consider House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s tax reform proposal.
- Consolidates individual tax rates into two brackets: 10 and 25 percent.
- Lowers the corporate tax rate to 25 percent.
- Repeals the alternative minimum tax.
- Transitions the tax code to a more competitive system of international taxation.
Health Care | Human Services:
- Converts both Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) into block grants.
- Eliminates broad-based categorical eligibility for recipients of SNAP.
- Reforms Medicare by offering a “premium support” option for retirees eligible in 2024.
- Repeals the Affordable Care Act, including the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
- Eliminates the Social Services Block Grant.
- Rescinds administrative waiver authority of the work requirements for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
- Reforms Supplemental Security Income, through either a household cap or graduated sliding scale of benefits.
- Reforms the medical-liability system.
- Recommends any future general fund transfers to the Highway Trust Fund to be fully offset. The resolution calls for “innovative financing mechanisms” to support surface-transportation programs, including allowing states to opt-out of the federal gas tax and fund their transportation priorities with state revenues.
- Consolidates duplicative job-training programs into more targeted career-scholarship programs. The resolution supports the SKILLS Act, which passed the House in March 2013.
- Proposes Pell Grant reform, including: considering a maximum-income cap, eliminating eligibility for less-than-half-time students, and eliminating administrative fees to participating institutions.
- Recommends that both the president and Congress introduce plans to restore balance to the Social Security Trust Fund.
- Privatizes, and eventually eliminates, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
- Suggests extension of the No Budget, No Pay Act, which would hold in escrow all compensation for members of Congress whose chamber does not agree to a concurrent budget resolution.