House, Senate GOP budgets have differences and similarities

AP News
|
Posted: Mar 26, 2015 4:29 PM

Republicans controlling the House and Senate are pushing competing budget plans, though both nonbinding blueprints call for steep cuts to social programs like Medicaid and to federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act as the chief means of achieving a small surplus within 10 years. The two plans would boost defense spending by the same level, but they take different approaches on Medicare.

The House passed its version of the budget Wednesday while the Senate plan was slated for a vote late Thursday.

Highlights of the plans:

DEFENSE

The House and Senate versions both dedicate an overall $612 billion to defense, the same figure President Barack Obama proposed in his February budget and a 4.5 percent increase over current levels. Not all of the spending would be offset by cuts elsewhere, which drew complaints from deficit hawks.

MEDICARE

House: Cuts Medicare by $148 billion over 10 years and recommends a new voucher-like program for beneficiaries entering the program in 2024 and later.

Senate: Cuts Medicare with $431 billion of unspecified reductions over 10 years, matching Obama's February budget.

SPENDING CUTS

House: Spending cuts total $5.5 trillion over 10 years, including $2 trillion from so-called Obamacare, $759 billion from nondefense operating budgets and $913 billion from Medicaid and other health programs.

Senate: Cuts spending by $5.1 trillion over 10 years, including $4.3 trillion from so-called mandatory programs such as Obamacare and $236 billion from nondefense agency operating budgets. Provides less detail than House plan.

TAXES

House: Assumes current "baseline" on tax revenue levels and comprehensive tax reform that would eliminate many tax breaks and lower tax rates on income and investments.

Senate: Same.