DC Download: Two plans, one budget

(LIN) — Two weeks have now passed since the sequestration deadline and although President Barack Obama has made efforts this week to reach out to both sides of Congress, a budget solution impasse still exists.

Even still, two major plans have emerged this week to try to fix the nation’s fiscal follies. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., presented the House Budget Committee's plan Tuesday, followed Wednesday by the Senate Budget Committee’s plan, led by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Although both plans call for hundreds of billions in spending cuts, their method on how to do so differs greatly.

The House Budget Committee's plan, presented by Ryan, would reduce federal government spending – outside of Social Security and interest on debt – to its lowest levels in more than 60 years, according to a report issued Wednesday. The main programs to get slashed over the next 10 years would be Medicare, Medicaid and programs to help the poor, including food stamps.

"This is not only a responsible, reasonable balanced plan," Ryan said Tuesday. "It's also an invitation. This is an invitation to the president of the United States, to the Senate Democrats, to come together to fix these problems."

Put simply, Ryan’s plan includes no tax increases, no stimulus, more spending cuts and a fast-faced strategy to reduce the deficit.

Read the full House Budget Committee proposal, entitled “The Path to Prosperity"

The Senate Budget Committee's plan, presented by Murray, would still leave the country with a $566 billion shortfall in 10 years, compared to a $7 billion projected budget surplus in 2023 in the Ryan proposal.

The Senate budget aims to stabilize the country’s debt problem in the long-term, rather than focusing on a balanced budget in 10 years. According to budget documents, this proposal would spend $4.9 billion more than Ryan’s proposal. On her official website, Murray explains the logic:

"The Senate budget takes the position that trickle-down economics has failed as an economic policy and that true national prosperity comes form the middle out, not the top down," she writes.  She goes on to explain that "deficit reduction at the expense of economic growth is doomed to failure."

The Senate budget suggests an extra $100 billion in federal spending to improve infrastructure and create jobs. According to Murray, the plan also replaces all of the cuts made by sequestration.

Read the full Senate Budget Committee proposal, entitled “Foundation for Growth"

While both plans are being reviewed and considered in Congress, sequester cuts continue, the country looks to Washington to figure something out before the next big deadline: the projected March 27 federal government shutdown.

The decision before Congress and the White House of how to solve the country’s budget problem is much like choosing a diet to lose weight: Different methods can yield the same result, but some methods may take longer and appear more extreme.

Unfortunately, whichever diet plan the federal government chooses will require discipline to see it to full fruition.  That means no loopholes, no scare tactics and both sides working together to get the problem under control.


DC Download is a week-in-review featuring the latest news from Capitol Hill published every Friday. Get the latest political news at onPolitix.com, and join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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