Statement by the Bipartisan Policy Center's Steve Bell on Chairman Ryan’s Budget

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Ashley Berrang
(202) 637-1456
aberrang@bipartisanpolicy.org
Twitter | @ABerrang

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Washington, D.C. — The following is a statement by Steve Bell, Senior Director of Economic Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, on the proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget plan released today by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI):

“The fiscal path outlined in the proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget released by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, if fully implemented by Congress, would achieve two goals that the Domenici-Rivlin Debt Reduction Task Force at the Bipartisan Policy Center has long recommended: it would achieve federal debt levels of less than 60 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP); and it would begin fundamental reform of entitlement programs that threaten America’s future fiscal stability.

“Three shortcomings of the Ryan plan as compared to the Domenici-Rivlin Task Force recommendations exist. First, the Ryan plan fails to increase future federal revenues. The Ryan plan also recommends domestic discretionary spending well below the levels that the task force believed necessary for federal investments in areas that would contribute to future economic growth, and many of the proposed large cuts to mandatory spending programs that assist in achieving a balanced federal budget are insufficiently detailed.

“BPC’s analyses of defense spending show that under current law our armed forces will be inadequately funded to simultaneously defend against global threats and invest in future readiness. Thus, we support defense spending increases along the lines of those in both President Obama’s and Chairman Ryan’s budgets. However, we continue to urge Congress to reject offsetting them with any further reductions in domestic accounts, which by some measures are at the lowest levels since the Eisenhower presidency.

“If fully implemented, BPC’s Domenici-Rivlin Task Force recommendations would yield debt stabilization at 60 percent of GDP, but at no time would achieve a balanced federal budget. The phase-in of entitlement reforms advocated by the Domenici-Rivlin Task Force would have most of their fiscal impact in the second ten-year window. As we learned from January’s repeal of modest reforms to military retiree pensions in the Bipartisan Budget Act, entitlement change that is too abrupt runs the risk of not lasting and not producing significant long-term debt reduction.”