Washington, D.C. - The following is a statement by Steve Bell, Senior Director of the Economic Policy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, regarding the Fiscal Year 2014 federal budget submission by President Obama today: “President Obama’s decision to include a number of entitlement changes that could garner bipartisan support, including the ‘chained Consumer Price Index’ or CPI, in his FY14 budget submission could lead to serious debt stabilization and reduction legislation this year. While we wish the president had recommended more fundamental, structural reforms to federal health programs, the burden to build on the president’s budget falls on Congress.
“We are concerned that Congress’ FY14 budget process seems stalled, since neither the House nor the Senate has appointed conferees to negotiate a final federal budget. We hope that the president’s recommendations prompt congressional action on an FY14 budget, including reconciliation instructions that could lead to tax and entitlement reforms beyond what the president has offered.
“The chained CPI proposal reduces the rate of growth in entitlement spending, but also raises revenues. While the deficit reduction from this action would be very small relative to the debt problem, the fact that the president has touched what has been called ‘the third rail of politics’ is heartening. Congress now needs to undertake further reforms in taxes and entitlement spending and has the opportunity to do so through the regular order of the congressional budget process. Congress needs to take advantage of this opportunity.”