Obamacare Repeal Tops Budget Committee’s 2017 Blueprint
House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price introduced Republican’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal Tuesday, sticking with the numbers agreed upon in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 despite resistance from conservatives over spending increases.
The blueprint, which increases spending by $30 billion, would balance the budget over the course of a decade without raising taxes, repeal Obamacare in its entirety — which accounts for a large chunk of its deficit — and make major changes to entitlement programs.
Medicare beneficiaries would be able to pick from a list of federally-certified plans — similar to how Medicare Advantage, the private-sector part of Medicare, and Medicare Part D operate. The plan also proposes provisions to help prevent fraud in safety-net programs: It requires Medicaid recipients to work and converts the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program into a State Flexibility Fund, giving more power back to the states to tailor the program to their individual needs.
A loophole allowing people to collect both unemployment insurance and disability insurance would also be closed.
“We achieve $7 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade — through a combination of $6.5 trillion in savings coupled with economic growth — bringing an end to annual deficits so we actually begin to pay down the debt and avoid a completely predictable and preventable fiscal crisis looming over the horizon,” the proposal reads.
Under the proposal defense spending would be increased to a base of $574 billion with an additional $74 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funding.
“The Fiscal Year 2017 House Republican budget, A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America, provides a vision and specific solutions for how we can, as a nation, get our fiscal house in order, strengthen our national security, provide support for those who need assistance, and empower our citizens and our communities,” Price said in a statement. “It is a plan to balance the budget through commonsense reforms and greater economic growth; to create a healthier economy, more secure nation, and a more accountable Washington.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan has called on members of the conference to support a budget that falls in line with the legislation passed last year, making the case that conservatives shouldn’t give up the chance to pass appropriations bills, a balanced budget, entitlement reform and reconciliation for just a $40 million increase after defense spending is taken into account.
Conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus rejected the blueprint, saying they can’t get behind the $1.07 trillion discretionary spending level and spending hikes.
“From the beginning of the budget process, the House Freedom Caucus has called for a Republican budget that shows the American people we are serious about addressing Washington’s out-of-control spending problem. Our Members have put forward multiple proposals that would rein in spending through real budget reforms,” the HFC said in a statement released to The Daily Caller News Foundation Monday evening. “House leadership has continually asked the Republican conference to support President Obama’s budget levels, even though the national debt passed the $19 trillion mark in January, and the Congressional Budget Office has reported that the federal deficit increased by $105 billion this year.”
The House Budget Committee is slated to hold a markup on the budget Wednesday.
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