House GOP budget: Repeal ObamaCare, boost Defense, cut $5.5 trillion over 10 years

posted at 4:41 pm on March 17, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

House Republicans rolled out their budget proposal for FY2016, and it gives conservatives some reason to cheer. It includes plans to repeal ObamaCare and offer a voucher system for Medicare to control costs. Overall it eliminates more than five trillion dollars in projected spending over the next decade while keeping the sequester in place — but uses a back door to send more funds to the Pentagon:

The document would repeal ObamaCare “in its entirety,” and calls for “starting over with a patient-centered approach to health care reform.” The document does not get into deep specifics on what this might entail – one factor is a pending Supreme Court case over the law’s subsidies that could force Congress and the Obama administration to reconsider the policy, if the administration loses.

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price’s $3.8 trillion plan borrows heavily from prior GOP budgets, including a plan that would transform Medicare into a voucher-like “premium support” program for seniors joining Medicare in 2024 or later. They would receive a subsidy to purchase health insurance on the private market.

They also propose to end food stamps as a federally-managed program. Instead, states would get bloc grants and manage funds as they see fit. That will prompt the usual cycle of “Republicans hate the poor!” attacks, with ad agencies probably already gearing up for the opportunities. Those programs really will get spending cuts, but the GOP will have to argue that states can make up for the difference in greater efficiency — and that getting to a balanced budget will mean cuts all around to federal programs.

That brings us to defense spending:

Meanwhile, Republicans are proposing using tens of billions of dollars in additional war funding to get around tight budget limits on the Pentagon.

The use of overseas military funds to skirt spending caps is a new feature. War spending is exempt from budget limits and the move would allow Republicans to effectively match Obama’s proposal to boost defense spending by $38 billion above current limits. That was a key demand of the party’s defense hawks.

That part of the proposal didn’t impress John McCain, who called it a “gimmick.” That’s true, but it’s not altogether illegitimate, either. The reason why conservatives want to increase Pentagon spending because of the renewed war in Iraq and Syria, its spread to Libya, and containing it within the region. Why not directly fund that through the existing AUMFs, which emphasizes their utility as well, rather than through baseline Pentagon spending? The answer to that is because we need to upwardly adjust baseline spending too, but politically that’s a loser while the GOP is making cuts to entitlement spending through explicit reductions and reforms of those systems.

Can they stick to this? With Barack Obama in office, probably not, unless they want another replay of 1995:

In the four years that Republicans have controlled the House, they have yet to try to implement their controversial cuts, which was understandable given that Democrats controlled the rest of Washington. But now that Republicans have seized the Senate there’s no expectation that they will follow the example of Republicans in 1995 and try to pass real legislation to balance the budget — with the certainty that Obama would veto any such measure as Bill Clinton thwarted the 1995 Newt Gingrich-led drive for a balanced budget.

“It’s going to require presidential leadership. We don’t have it,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. “We do not have a willing partner.”

No kidding. Republican presidential hopefuls can point this out, but they’ll also play up the problems with the leadership establishment in Congress. Bobby Jindal is already making that point in his interview with Hugh Hewitt (via Breitbart):

HH: Now Governor, I spoke off the record today with both a Senator and a Congressman senior in this process. And they’ve said the budget resolution is the first step in a complicated dance. Don’t pay attention to that number, because we have to get reconciliation. And you’re a legislator. You get this. You were in the Congress. We have to get the reconciliation language, then we can blow the cap on Defense, and then we can do a deal with the President. Are you willing to wait until October? Or do you want to see the Defense number blown up in the budget that passes as a resolution?

BJ: Hugh, here’s my concern. I’ve got two concerns. One, I wish I had more confidence and trust in our Congressional leadership. I’m glad that we got the majority, but they waved the white flag of retreat and surrender on amnesty. I worry they’re going to do the same thing on Obamacare when the Supreme Court rules. So I wish I had more confidence and faith they’ll show a backbone later this year. Secondly, I worry about planning purposes. We need to give our military leaders the confidence that we are going to be investing. It takes time to build ships, and build and buy these planes. It takes time to train our troops. And we don’t need to be inflicting these kinds of deep, deep cuts. I want them to have more predictability. Look, I don’t mind, I know that we’re not going to get to 4% overnight. It may take three to five years and will involve tens of billions of dollars in increases every year. It’ll take time for the Pentagon. And by the way, I’m all for reforming the Pentagon, and I’ve got specific ideas on acquisition reform and reducing the number of contractors and civilians, and some of the other areas where there’s an explosive growth. I think we need to signal sooner than later to the military that help is coming, we’re not going to hollow out our military, but even more importantly, we signal to our adversaries that in America, we believe in a stronger America. That is, you know, here’s the ironic thing. The best way to avoid war is to prepare for it. And peace through strength is not just a cliché or a bumper sticker or a slogan. It actually works. And I worry…

Don’t we all? Obama will never sign a budget that repeals ObamaCare, but it sets up the 2016 election for Republicans to have that fight — short of a shutdown. It might force Democrats to deal on some of the other reform pieces, especially on Medicare premium supplements, which have the best mechanism to hold down costs for the federal government of any other current plan.


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Comments

Boom shaka laka……..beat is getting stronger.

jake49 on March 17, 2015 at 4:46 PM

From what we’ve seen from this House so far this session, it will never come up for a vote.

ConstantineXI on March 17, 2015 at 4:47 PM

Can they stick to this? With Barack Obama in office, probably not, unless they want another replay of 1995:

Has nothing to do with obama…has everything to do with the R’s ability/willigness to market their budget and FIGHT for it!!!

It’s amazing how some sweep the last 2 elections under the rug so fast.

What on earth were those 2 LANDSLIDES about???

winston on March 17, 2015 at 4:49 PM

Good. It’s a start at least. It won’t nearly be that high for bipartisan reasons but any cuts are good.

I’m thrilled to see food stamps go back to the states. That should never have been done at the federal level. I still think welfare should be done at the state level as well, but I don’t think we’ll ever see that happen.

However, instead of boosting up the Pentagon budget, that needs to be cut down, especially in areas of waste/sweetheart deals. Hire a team, instead of adding billions to the defense, to cut down wasteful spending since there is bound to be plenty in the military area with that large of a departmental budget.

If you can cut 10% out of wasteful spending from there, then you can use that money elsewhere or just pay down the debt.

We can’t be serious about cutting down our spending without addressing all departments, instead of the partisan-preferred few.

Hillarys Cankles on March 17, 2015 at 4:51 PM

Why not vote to repeal ObamaCare. They know it won’t pass. Get a Republican in 2016 and guess what, it still won’t pass unless you have 60 in the Senate and that is not likely. They just don’t have the guts to repeal it the way it was passed: by reconciliation.

Occams Stubble on March 17, 2015 at 4:52 PM

This isn’t 1995!

Seriously! It’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy principle of failure to attach anything and everything to the events of 1995

lineholder on March 17, 2015 at 4:52 PM

And Charlie Brown runs toward the football held by Lucy.

leftamark on March 17, 2015 at 4:54 PM

“Moderate” Repubs have lived under a spirit of fear of a repeat of 1995 to so great an extent that it keeps them from even trying to succeed!

lineholder on March 17, 2015 at 4:54 PM

$5.5 trillion over 10 years?

So, basically back to break even in 10 years, when someone else is in power because the GOP flubbed things up.

LoganSix on March 17, 2015 at 4:54 PM

Jindal’s reaction is all that needs to be said. When the GOP actually gets serious, I’ll believe it.

Aizen on March 17, 2015 at 4:55 PM

That’s the PRETEND GOP budget. The real GOP budget is a permanent doc fix adding $100 billion to the deficit and an expansion of the S-CHIP program.

Clark1 on March 17, 2015 at 4:56 PM

Jindal: I don’t trust GOP leadership to repeal ObamaCare.

portlandon on March 17, 2015 at 5:04 PM

Clark1 on March 17, 2015 at 4:56 PM

Bingo! They surrender on everything then come out with their phony budgets and conservative bills.

Wigglesworth on March 17, 2015 at 5:05 PM

I believe it goes “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Not “If at first you don’t succeed, remind yourself of that failure every time you try, try again… And then don’t.”

ConDem on March 17, 2015 at 5:06 PM

This will never pass, its just starting point so they can say “Look we tried!”. There will end up being a compromise/combination with Obamas submitted budget that will actually pass. I’m guessing Obama gets 75% of what he wants.

TylerMichaels on March 17, 2015 at 5:07 PM

House Republicans rolled out their budget proposal for FY2016, and it gives conservatives some reason to cheer.

Gullible much?

How many kabuki dances do you need to see before you ‘get it’, Ed? Or are you one of the performers, and this is part of the dance?

Midas on March 17, 2015 at 5:21 PM

Until they actually bleed for it it’s just red meat speech for the base.

Ukiah on March 17, 2015 at 5:22 PM

this is good news, therefore I don’t believe it

DanMan on March 17, 2015 at 5:25 PM

Gullible much?

How many kabuki dances do you need to see before you ‘get it’, Ed? Or are you one of the performers, and this is part of the dance?

Midas on March 17, 2015 at 5:21 PM

Why are you here? Are you part of the dance too?

Somme 1916 on March 17, 2015 at 5:26 PM

Gullible much?

How many kabuki dances do you need to see before you ‘get it’, Ed? Or are you one of the performers, and this is part of the dance?

Midas on March 17, 2015 at 5:21 PM

What you said!
There are those that actually take heart over the “attempts”to save the country…then they are anxious to tell everybody why ITS. NOT. POSSIBLE.
And yes…they are part of the problem…

winston on March 17, 2015 at 5:27 PM

It sounds lime they might have started in a good negotiating position — where they can bargain some stuff away, but they have to be willing to “shut down” the govt (and win the argument).

KenInIL on March 17, 2015 at 5:34 PM

So, find all the things conservatives like: McConnel will ditch them and Boehner will cry and then get Pelosi to help pass the Democrat Budget which McConnel will push.

gwelf on March 17, 2015 at 5:37 PM

Is it called the This Is Definitely No Hill To Die On Let’s Keep Our Powder Dry Budget Act?

gwelf on March 17, 2015 at 5:40 PM

Bobby Jindal is already making that point

He is making enemies within the GOP.
That takes courage.
Jindal has demonstrated a lot of courage as LA’s governor, publicly taking on everyone from Obama to unions who oppose the good of the state.

itsnotaboutme on March 17, 2015 at 5:51 PM

Jindal is sharp. Here’s his CPAC speech: http://www.mediaite.com/online/jindal-blasts-gop-congress-in-cpac-speech-time-for-them-to-govern/

anotherJoe on March 17, 2015 at 4:53 PM

Yup, underscoring the point I just made, big-time.

itsnotaboutme on March 17, 2015 at 5:53 PM

Whatever happened to no approval of Obama appointees until a full Obamacare repeal? The GOP is becoming democrat-light. ‘

Watch and they’ll end up confirming Loretta Lynch.

nazo311 on March 17, 2015 at 5:59 PM

Jindal: I don’t trust GOP leadership to repeal ObamaCare.

Here’s your problem, Bobby. You actually thought they might. How quaintly naive.

Trust never should have entered the picture. The lying liars in the GOP talk the talk to get votes, and then promptly ‘compromise’ with the socialists. Where ‘compromise’ means giving the socialists most of what they want. While claiming there were tough negotiations and they got ‘the best deal possible’, in an attempt to appease the people who elected them.

Why bother voting GOP?

farsighted on March 17, 2015 at 6:18 PM

The white flag brigade will accomplish no such thing.

antipc on March 17, 2015 at 6:29 PM

There is absolutely no way the GOP will get rid of Obozocare.

And as for “strengthening” the defense budget, why???

We have shown that we have neither the will nor the ability to even identify what it is we are fighting against – on MULTIPLE fronts, and that having the greatest armed forces in history amount to absolutely nothing.

I think we’d be much better off spending our money to promote conservative, family values.

And that’s not going to happen either – the GOP won’t even get rid of Boner after the historic mid-term for God’s sake.

The whole thing is a joke.

KMC1 on March 17, 2015 at 7:01 PM

He is making enemies within the GOP.
That takes courage.
Jindal has demonstrated a lot of courage as LA’s governor

If Bobby Jindal continues to P.O. all the right people, he will continue to have my support.

Right Mover on March 17, 2015 at 7:14 PM

House GOP budget: Repeal ObamaCare, boost Defense, cut $5.5 trillion over 10 years

Hey look, a veto.

Now what, GOP?

You got the majority you have to govern…

Tlaloc on March 17, 2015 at 8:17 PM

Today it came out that the DIABLO Speaker of the House is cutting deals with Democrat Nancy Pelosi and his DIABLO caucus, and not even talking to the Conservatives in what technically is his own majority party.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/boehner-s-new-strategy-enlist-democrats-first-not-last-20150316

He offers the Democrats more spending, and Democrats replace the votes from Conservatives on budget issues.

Read that article, and tell me how there is any chance of the Potemkin Republican budget passing the House.

SECOND Party now!

Subotai Bahadur on March 17, 2015 at 8:47 PM

Hey look, a veto.

Now what, GOP?

You got the majority you have to govern…

Tlaloc on March 17, 2015 at 8:17 PM

Like the Democrats have done the past four years?

Alien on March 17, 2015 at 9:06 PM

Nice. Get it signed and build on it.

1redshirtxlg on March 17, 2015 at 10:44 PM

Can they stick to this? With Barack Obama in office, probably not

Thus the ObamaCare repeal go away in the compromise.

That’s the only reason it’s on the table anyway.

Tsar of Earth on March 18, 2015 at 7:55 AM

Jindal: I don’t trust GOP leadership to repeal ObamaCare.

I’m with Jindal.

earlgrey on March 18, 2015 at 10:34 AM