Health Center Federal Policy, Uncategorized

The FY2012 Budget Season Opens on Capitol Hill Even As FY2011 Is Still in Full Swing…

by Alexandra Sange, MPP

This week, a new front will open on Capitol Hill’s ongoing budget battles – that is, the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget.  While discussions around the final appropriations or spending bill for the current fiscal year (FY2011) continue in earnest, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is getting ready to release his budget proposal for the next fiscal year, FY2012.  Before we get into the buzz about Chairman Ryan’s FY2012 proposal, there are a couple of points worth noting:

  • This is the first inning in a full game of budget baseball.  Chairman Ryan’s proposed budget for FY2012 is the first step toward Congress drafting and passing a Budget Resolution.  However, there are many steps in the congressional budget process.
  • The budget committees in the House and Senate work individually to craft budgets that set topline numbers and create a framework for a budget; if these budget resolutions pass their individual chambers, the Budget Committees and Leaderships then try to reconcile their versions and pass the same budget resolution through both bodies.  This reconciled budget proposal, even if passed by both chambers, is not law and does not constitute a binding budget f2or the coming fiscal year.
  • In a climate like the present one, with different parties controlling the two chambers, a budget proposal that can pass both chambers will be very difficult to achieve.
  • Importantly, the relevant committees of jurisdiction in Congress must write any policy changes or reductions to programs – such as the entitlement programs – that are proposed in the budget resolution before they can be considered by the full House and Senate and become law.

Keeping those points in mind, Budget Committee Chairman Ryan does intend for his FY2012 fiscal blueprint to be a bold step toward shrinking the federal deficit and curbing discretionary and mandatory spending in the coming year.  Details on Chairman Ryan’s proposal are not expected to be released until later in the week. However, the Chairman has stated publicly that he intends to propose more than $4 trillion in cuts to federal spending, with $1 trillion of that reached through reductions in Medicaid, including block granting the Medicaid program to states.  His proposal, Ryan has said, attempts to get mandatory spending under control with modifications to both the Medicaid and Medicare programs

However, as noted above, these are only the opening swings in a long game for FY2012 – and we haven’t even finished up with FY2011 yet.  Stay tuned to our blog for regular updates on the polices and proposals floating around (and gaining traction on) Capitol Hill for the next fiscal year.