Budget Deal Expected Later this Week
After months of stalemate, one government shutdown, and legislators moving from one financial crisis to the next, House and Senate negotiators have announced that they have reached a budget deal. The modest deal – negotiated between House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) – will set discretionary spending limits for the Federal Government for 2014 and 2015.
Sources close to the negotiations have said that the budget deal is nearing agreement because large, contentious issues were off the table entirely. Republicans agreed not to propose structural changes to entitlement programs – such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – and Democrats agreed not to propose any additional tax increases.
According to a recent article in Politico:
With these thorny issues left on the sideline, a deal then wasn’t terribly difficult to envision: The pair is seeking to set spending levels for two years and ease the blow of the sequester by shaving roughly $60 billion to $65 billion from the edges of federal programs and roughly $30 billion in revenue from tacking on additional fees to airline tickets and increasing other user fees.
Per the agreement not to change entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid during these budget negotiations, there are not expected to be any new Medicare or Medicaid cuts in the two year budget deal. However, the two percent cut to Medicare reimbursements that went into effect under the sequester would remain in place.
If Representative Ryan and Senator Murray are able to reach a final agreement, the budget will need to pass both the House and the Senate and be signed by the President before going into effect. After years of budget stalemates, there is optimism by both Congressional Democrats and Republicans that a budget agreement will be reached, though passage in both or either chambers remains uncertain.
Negotiations continue on how to offset the cost of a short-term fix to the flawed Medicare physician payment formula (SGR).
NAHC Report will report on all the latest developments surrounding the SGR fix when they occur.