House FY14 Budget Resolution Poses More Harm to Seniors Programs
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House FY14 Budget Resolution Poses More Harm to Seniors Programs

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March 12, 2013

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has released the House Republicans’ proposed FY 2014 budget resolution, which seeks to balance the federal budget in 10 years through $4.6 trillion in cuts and various accounting mechanisms.

Many of the plan's provisions are similar to Ryan's FY13 proposal, which included drastic cuts to programs that serve the most vulnerable Americans.

The FY14 House Republican budget would:

  • Convert Medicaid into a block grant and tie future spending to inflation and population growth. This means it will not keep pace with health care costs or demand for assistance as the population ages and employer-based insurance options continue to erode.

  • Repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), eliminating initiatives such as Medicaid expansion, the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and relief from the prescription drug coverage gap.

  • Convert Medicare into a defined contribution, or “premium support,” system for those currently under age 55 and expand means testing. An analysis of Ryan’s 2011 Medicare premium support proposal showed that seniors’ out-of-pocket costs would increase by nearly $6,400 in the first year alone.

  • Address the Social Security Trust Fund by requiring the President and Congress to issue proposals to shore it up.

  • Eventually convert the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) into a block grant, tie future funding to inflation and eligibility, and call for time limits and work requirements. Nearly 3 million seniors receive SNAP and another 5.7 million are eligible. Time limits, work requirements, and asset tests would have a particularly adverse effect on their eligibility.

  • Repeal the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) to consolidate federal job training programs, despite the fact that SCSEP is the only one that serves the unique needs of older workers. This would force seniors to turn to an underfunded workforce development system that currently underserves them.

  • Further reduce spending on discretionary programs beyond the cuts imposed by the Budget Control Act and sequester. Discretionary spending accounts for less than a third of federal expenditures, yet it has absorbed most of the budget cuts over the past year. Nondefense discretionary spending on programs like the Older Americans Act, LIHEAP, and Section 202 Housing for the Elderly is projected to reach historic lows.

The House Budget Committee is scheduled to consider the plan on March 13, and the full House will do so the week of March 18.

In the Senate, the Budget Committee is expected to begin debate of an FY14 budget resolution to be released by Chair Patty Murray (D-WA), with Senate floor action next week.

Watch your email for more in-depth analysis and news next week--along with a chance to email your members of Congress about the budget debate.

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