House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA), selected by President-elect Donald Trump to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, recently proposed wide-ranging changes to the congressional process for developing and enforcing budgets. These proposals could guide Congress in 2017. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a Washington, DC-based think tank, notes that two key themes stand out in Price’s plan: “the harsh treatment of social and other programs versus lenient treatment of tax breaks, and the risks posed by the proposed entitlement cap to the economy and people in need,” says the CBPP. According to the CBPP and others, these changes proposed by Price would amount to an attack on spending and key programs -- such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and SNAP -- at the expense of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens even as they opened the door to even more tax breaks primarily benefiting affluent households. “The current budget process for guarding against higher deficits is fundamentally even-handed,” write CBPP analysts Richard Kogan and David Reich in a newly published report. “The statutory Pay-As-You-Go (or PAYGO) rule applies equally to entitlement spending and revenues. It requires any legislation that would increase projected entitlement costs or reduce projected revenues to be offset by any combination of reduced entitlement benefits or higher revenues.” Kogan and Reich assert that the Price plan would radically change thi [...]
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12/16/16 6:35 PM