Bill Would Link Spending to Deficit Reduction
Senate Budget Committee Chair Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) last week introduced a bill (S 3521) that would reform the federal budget process by reducing spending for entitlement programs if Congress failed to meet deficit reduction targets, among other provisions, CQ Today reports. The legislation, which Gregg plans to mark up on June 20, would affect Medicare, Medicaid, benefits for veterans and other entitlement programs but would exclude Social Security.
Under the bill, the federal budget deficit would have to decrease from 2.75% of gross domestic product in fiscal year 2007 to 0.5% in FY 2012. The legislation also would establish a commission with special legislative authority to study proposals to reduce spending growth for entitlement programs and a second commission to identify federal programs to eliminate.
Congress would have to approve or deny the recommendations of the commissions without revisions.
According to CQ Today, the bill, which has the support of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), "seems doomed in an election year in which Republicans have failed to agree on a budget and Democrats ... are painting GOP plans as schemes to cut Medicare, Medicaid and veterans' benefits to finance tax cuts for the rich."
Democrats likely will filibuster the legislation, CQ Today reports (Dennis, CQ Today, 6/16).