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House Approves Budget Resolution

On March 25, the House approved, 228-199, the FY2016 Budget Resolution (H. Con. Res. 27). The House Budget Committee approved the legislation on March 19 (see The Source, 3/20/15).

According to the committee report, the budget resolution would provide $3.719 trillion in budget authority in FY2016 and would set discretionary spending at $1.111 trillion. The measure caps non-defense spending at $493.5 billion and defense spending at $523.1 billion and includes $96 billion in war funding, which is separate from the cap.

Federal health programs would receive $57.726 billion in discretionary budget authority in FY2016. The resolution assumes $2 trillion in savings by repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its related budgetary law (P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152). The report notes that the “budget supports greater program integrity measures for Title X Family Planning Grants. While this resolution supports the long-standing policy to ban federal taxpayer dollars from funding elective abortions, greater measures should be taken.”

The budget proposes to merge Medicaid with the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and convert the newly combined program into a block grant administered by the states. The Medicaid expansions and exchange subsidies enacted by the ACA would be repealed.

The legislation would allocate $512.364 billion in total budget authority for income security programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the school lunch program. The measure proposes to convert several programs, including SNAP, from mandatory expenditures into annually appropriated discretionary expenditures; TANF and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would remain mandatory programs. Under the proposed budget, discretionary programs would receive $61.414 billion in budget authority, while mandatory programs would receive $450.95 billion.

Education, training, employment, and social services programs would receive $88.248 billion in discretionary budget authority in FY2016. The legislation would reform federal primary and secondary education programs by “reorganizing and streamlining K-12 programs to increase efficiency and empower state and local entities.”

The measure would allocate $38.342 billion in overall budget authority for international development, food security, and humanitarian assistance programs, housed at the State Department, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

During consideration of the budget, the House adopted, 219-208, a substitute amendment by Budget Committee Chair Tom Price (R-GA) to increase the amount of war funding from $94 billion to $96 billion.

The House rejected the following amendments:

  • A substitute amendment by Rep. Price to increase war funding to $96 billion, but that contained offsets in total spending, 105-319;
  • An amendment by Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), 160-264;
  • An amendment by Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) on behalf of the Republican Study Committee, 132-294;
  • An amendment by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus, 120-306; and
  • An amendment by Keith Ellison (D-MN) on behalf of the Progressive Caucus, 96-330.
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