Senate Democrats on Wednesday unveiled a FY 2014 budget proposal that would cut $1.85 trillion from the federal deficit, including $275 billion reduction in health care spending.
Unlike Ryan's FY 2014 budget proposal, Democrats' spending blueprint—proposed by Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.)—would lower the federal budget deficit to an amount equal to 2.2% of gross domestic product by 2023.
Murray would achieve that target through an equal mix of new tax revenues and spending cuts, including a $265 billion reduction to Medicare and a $10 billion cut to Medicaid.
Murray said the proposal puts everything on the table, but she added, "we do it in a responsible way that preserves, protects and strengthens the programs, like Medicare and Medicaid that American people strongly support."
Murray's proposal also would replace the $1.2 trillion mandated cuts under sequestration, including a 2% cut to Medicare reimbursement rates, with a mix of targeted spending cuts and new tax revenue. In contrast, Ryan's latest proposal would leave those cuts in place.
Criticism of the Senate plan
Responding to Murray's budget proposal, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)—ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee—said the budget would not make what he considers to be necessary reductions to the Affordable Care Act and federal entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Meanwhile, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)—a member of the Senate Budget Committee—criticized the proposal for not producing a balanced budget. "I think 'balanced' has become a code word for some equal amounts of increased taxes and spending, but it has not become a sign that we will actually try to balance the budget," Crapo said.
House panel approves Ryan budget
Meanwhile, the House Budget Committee on Wednesday voted 22-17 along party lines to approve Ryan's FY 2014 budget proposal, The Hill's "On The Money" reports. The plan now heads to the full House, where it is expected to be put to a vote next week (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 3/13 [subscription required]; Peterson, Wall Street Journal, 3/13; Attais, CQ Roll Call, 3/13; Wasson, "On The Money," The Hill, 3/14).