House Rejects Several Alternative Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposals
On Wednesday, the House voted 382-38 to reject a bipartisan fiscal year 2013 budget proposal that was introduced as an alternative to the Republican budget blueprint released last week by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the AP/U-T San Diego reports (Taylor, AP/U-T San Diego, 3/28).
The proposal, co-sponsored by Reps. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), is similar to a bipartisan budget plan developed in 2010 by former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles.
The proposal would have set a limit on future health care spending and imposed broad changes in Social Security and other health care entitlement programs. The plan suggested that Congress limit the growth of Medicare and Medicaid spending to GDP plus 1%, a cap similar to one in Ryan's plan to partially privatize Medicare (California Healthline, 11/2/11).
Ryan was the only lawmaker to speak against the proposal, saying it was too reliant on tax increases rather than spending cuts (AP/U-T San Diego, 3/28). Some of the plan's biggest boosters voted against it.
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D) said in a statement that he voted against the measure because it "came to the Floor before [a] broad consensus could be achieved" (Newhauser, Roll Call, 3/28).
After the vote, Cooper continued to lobby for a plan similar to the Simpson-Bowles framework. He said, "When we eventually solve our nation's deficit problem, the final blueprint will look like this"(Rogers, Politico, 3/28).
House Votes Down Plan Based on Obama Budget Proposal
The chamber unanimously voted to reject a proposal based on President Obama's $3.6 trillion budget plan, Roll Call reports (Roll Call, 3/28).
The Obama administration in February released the proposal, which aimed to reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade. It also included $360 billion in Medicaid and Medicare spending cuts over the next 10 years.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) proposed the plan in what appeared to be an attempt to embarrass Democrats into voting against it, according to Roll Call. "It's the president's budget so you would think that maybe Congress would bring it up and vote on it, but evidently Democrats didn't think that, so I'm doing them that favor," Mulvaney said.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) called the proposal a "charade" and said it was a stripped-down version of the president's plan (Roll Call, 3/28). Other Democrats said they feared that if they voted in favor of the budget, Republicans would accuse them in their re-election campaigns of endorsing every part of it, including provisions they might oppose (AP/U-T San Diego, 3/28).
Other Budget Votes
The House on Wednesday also voted to reject a budget proposal by the Congressional Black Caucus. The plan, which failed in a 314-107 vote, would not have made cuts to Medicaid or Medicare.
Automatic Budget Cuts Would Jeopardize Medical Research, Report Finds
Tens of thousands of medical research jobs would be eliminated if Congress fails to avert automatic budget cuts before they take effect on Jan. 1, according to a report by United for Medical Research, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
The report estimates that if the automatic 7.8% cut to non-defense spending included in the debt-ceiling deal takes effect, total employment at NIH would fall by more than 33,000, to reach 398,390 jobs. The report also projects that new economic activity generated by NIH investment would fall by more than $4.5 billion.
The cuts would "jeopardize high quality jobs in the life-sciences sector and result in a massive step backwards for biomedical research in the United States," UMR President Carrie Wolinetz said (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.