A story of two budgets: House vs. Senate


This week, the Senate and House released their budget proposals for the 2014 fiscal year. This is the first time in four years for the Senate, and the third time House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has led the House in its budget efforts.

There are a lot of different assessments going back and forth with regards to both budgets. Here are some important numbers to take in:

• The Senate budget averages more than a 4.9% increase in annual spending for a decade. The House budget averages a 3.4% increase per year for a decade.
• The House budget aims to balance in a decade. The Senate budget never tries to balance. (Because of inflation and population growth, the House budget’s rate of growth will have the budget balanced in a decade.)
• The Senate budget includes at least $1 trillion in tax increases. The House budget aims to simplify the tax code, though the vagueness of the plan is open to criticism.
• The House budget looks to repeal Obamacare. The Senate budget does not. The House budget does use Obamacare’s tax increases to reduce the deficit.

Neither budget is fully in line with what Tea Party activists have called on Congress to accomplish for years: a balanced budget within five years without tax increases. However, the House budget takes important steps with regards to long-term spending through reformation of Medicare and block-granting Medicaid to the states, and does aim for balance. The Senate budget continues to spend and tax at exorbitant rates, and never comes close to balancing.