Mind-Boggling Budget

The bad news is that House and Senate Republican negotiators have reached agreement on the outlines of a FY 2016 budget resolution that would include $5 trillion in spending cuts over ten years–just what our fragile economic recovery needs–though some defense spending cuts would be rescinded through the back door of emergency or contingency funds. Since the resolution does not include a House-passed Medicare voucher proposal long supported by Paul Ryan, that $5 trillion would almost have to cut means-tested entitlements and domestic discretionary programs by some just unimaginable amounts.

The good news is that this is simply a resolution, and that any subsequent reconciliation bill to implement it could and would be vetoed by the president.

I’m guessing that most news coverage of this development will focus on the least relevant aspect of this resolution–yet another statement of intent to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. (It’s unclear from The Hill‘s description if there’s any evidence of a contingency funding of health care purchasing subsidies if SCOTUS decides for the plaintiffs in Burwell v. King).

But before you brush the whole thing off as a nothing-burger, remember that this bill is a pretty good example of what we can expect to actually happen if Republicans hang onto control of Congress and win the White House next year. Reconciliation bills cannot be filibustered, and a whole lot can happen really fast.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.