Budget negotiators from the Republican party have successfully managed to reach a deal to create the first joint House-Senate budget for six long years.
The new budget has brought together the two houses and has seen a focus on increasing spending for the military while cutting funding to social programmes in a bid to balance the books and reduce the deficit within 10 years.
The focus of the new budget, according to Reuters, will be to the use of budget procedural tools on repealing or replacing President Barack Obama’s signature health reform legislation.
A report by Reuters says that passing a budget will allow Republicans the opportunity to use budget “reconciliation” procedures to dismantle “Obamacare” with only a simple majority vote in the Senate, rather than a near-impossible 60 vote margin that would require some Democratic support.
As reported by Reuters last week, the compromise budget will exclude Representative Paul Ryan’s longstanding proposals to convert the Medicare health programme for seniors to a system of subsidies for largely private health insurance.
While in the House of Representatives they had been keen to include the Medicare reforms in its budget for a fifth straight year, calling for the changes to start in 2024, the Senate came down on the same side of the fence as President Obama and did not included the proposals.
Although the new budget will be a useful tool in helping to guide the entire process of putting together various spending bills for the coming fiscal year, it has to be noted that most of what is included in non-binding and is in effect, according to Reuters, a policy manifesto for Republicans who now control both chambers of Congress.
Moving forward with the budget will mean that the debate relating to fiscal issues will then move on to attempting to find other savings in the budget or on the other side, ways in which to increase revenues to help to ease the sequester spending constraints that were enacted in the 2011 budget law.
According to Reuters, if Congress fails to lift the spending caps, military and domestic agency spending next year would stay flat at about $1 trillion, the same level as a decade ago. This also would make passage of spending bills more difficult, raising the risk of a government shutdown on October 1st.