Side-by-Side Comparison of House and Senate FY14 Budget Resolutions
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Side-by-Side Comparison of House and Senate FY14 Budget Resolutions

March 18, 2013

The House and Senate FY 2014 budget resolutions offer starkly different approaches to cutting federal spending and reducing the deficit. While the resolutions are non-binding, they play an important role in shaping the budget debate for the coming fiscal year.

What's Included


Senate Chairman Patty Murray's (D-WA) budget offers a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with $1.85 trillion in savings split evenly between spending cuts and revenues. The across-the-board sequester cuts would be replaced with some of these savings, and none of the reductions in Medicare would harm beneficiaries.


House Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget calls for nearly $5 trillion in spending cuts. Any increases in revenues would go solely toward reducing tax rates, with nothing dedicated to deficit reduction. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 66% of the spending cuts are in programs serving those with low or moderate incomes. The plan also would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but retain the $716 billion in Medicare cuts.


Key Provisions
(over 10 years)
Murray BudgetRyan Budget
Goal Reduce the deficit to 2.2% of GDP to put the debt on a downward path Balance the budget in 10 years
Net Reductions $1.85 trillion, split evenly between cuts and revenues $4.6 trillion in spending cuts
Revenues $975 billion increase, from the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations Tax increases used only for reduction in tax rates
Medicare $265 billion cut, with caveat that no cuts harm beneficiaries; eliminates sequester cuts $129 billion cut plus $138 billion to pay for physician payment fix; ACA repeal would eliminate closure of donut hole and preventive services coverage; premium support voucher and eligibility age would increase from 65 to 67 starting in 2024; retains sequester cuts
Medicaid $10 billion cut, with caveat that no cuts harm beneficiaries At least $750 billion cut via block grant; another $1.3 trillion cut from repeal of ACA Medicaid expansion and improvements
Social Security Reform No proposals, including no Chained CPI/COLA cut Congress and President to issue proposals to shore up Trust Fund
SNAP (Food Stamps) No proposals $135 billion cut, or 18%; block grant would cut $125 billion over 5 years
Nondefense Discretionary Eliminates over $400 billion in sequester cuts, but includes $150 billion in new cuts Retains over $400 billion in sequester cuts and adds $700 billion in new cuts
Defense Discretionary Eliminates over $500 billion in sequester cuts, but includes $240 billion in new cuts Eliminates over $500 billion in sequester cuts

Why Block Grants Matter

The Ryan budget would cap federal spending by turning two key entitlement programs into block grants—Medicaid and SNAP.

Turning a mandatory program into a block grant means the federal government would give each state a fixed amount of money to run the program, regardless of enrollment increases or actual inflation rates. That means that unless the state can identify other resources to meet growing needs, people who are eligible for assistance would be denied access or those currently being served would see their benefits decrease.

Here's how a block grant would affect these programs:


  • A projected cut of at least $750 billion.
  • States would get a fixed dollar amount that would not respond to factors like rising health care costs or an aging population.
  • If states cannot find extra funding, fewer people could be served, fewer services could be covered, and/or payments to providers could be reduced.


  • A $125 billion cut over 5 years.
  • If states choose to limit participation, 12 to 13 million people would be denied assistance.
  • If benefits are reduced, an across-the-board cut would reduce benefits by an average of $50 per person per month.

What’s Next

Congress will debate both budget resolutions this week. The House and Senate both are expected to vote largely along party lines. The Senate Murray plan provides an important opportunity to advocate for balanced deficit reduction that protects seniors and other vulnerable Americans.