Representative Price, Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget, has released a proposed budget plan for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. As of today, Chairman Price is indicating that the House Budget Committee could consider and vote on the plan tomorrow, with a floor vote expected sometime next week. However, a key House Republican Caucus (voting-bloc) has announced its refusal to support the House Republican Leadership budget plan, and it is unknown at this time whether or not there will be enough support from legislators for the budget to actually be voted on, and to ultimately pass on the floor.
For FY 2017, this budget plan maintains the overall spending caps for domestic and defense agencies established late last year in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. However, longer-term the budget would cut $6.5 trillion in federal spending through a combination of cuts to both discretionary and mandatory programs over the next ten years. Defense programs would see significant increases in funding under this budget, while the Affordable Care Act would be repealed, and entitlement programs, including Medicare, Social Security and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, would undergo major reforms. This budget also includes a proposal to eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and would significantly reduce annual funding levels for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Notably, the budget outline indicates a $49 billion cut in FY 2017 in “other mandatory programs,” which could include federal employee benefit programs. Over the ten-year budget window (FY 2017–2026), these non-specified federal programs are to be cut by approximately 1.5 trillion dollars. While not directly cited in this budget, federal employee retirement and health care programs do fall under this category of spending.
Further action by the House should provide further details, and I will keep you informed as this process unfolds in both the House and the Senate.