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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.

Click here for the full statement.