BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Greenstein on New Budget Deal
We’ve issued a statement from CBPP President Robert Greenstein on the budget deal announced earlier today. Here’s the opening:
If approved by Congress, the new budget deal from the White House and congressional leaders will mark a significant achievement by an otherwise polarized Washington. Along with raising the debt limit until early 2017 and thereby avoiding a potentially catastrophic default, the package would:
- Effectively eliminate about 90 percent of the sequestration budget cuts for non-defense discretionary programs in fiscal year 2016, and about 60 percent of them in 2017, while also easing sequestration for defense by equal dollar amounts in both years — and thereby providing more substantial relief from sequestration than the Murray-Ryan deal provided for 2014 and 2015;
- Greatly reduce the potential for government shutdowns this year and next (essentially eliminating the risk of a shutdown over funding levels, though retaining the possibility of one over riders and other policy differences);
- Extend the solvency of Social Security Disability Insurance through 2022, thereby avoiding across-the-board cuts of nearly 20 percent in disability benefits starting in late 2016, which will otherwise occur; and
- Avoid, for Medicare, an estimated 52 percent increase in deductibles for physician and other outpatient services in 2016, and a 52 percent increase in Part B premiums that roughly 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries otherwise would face.
Like any bipartisan deal, this one reflects numerous compromises and has its warts, including a disappointing health coverage provision as discussed below. But overall, the deal strongly merits support.