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Problems With the Budget Enforcement Bill Coming to the House Floor

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The House is scheduled to consider budget enforcement legislation on June 24. The legislation coming to the House floor — H.R. 4663, which is similar to legislation the House Budget Committee reported in March — would reinstitute pay-as-you-go rules for entitlement programs but exempt tax cuts from those rules. The legislation also would establish caps for two years on discretionary programs. (The version of the bill that the Budget Committee approved contained five-year discretionary caps, but the House Rules Committee made in order a version changing the duration of the caps to two years in an effort to pick up more votes for the bill.)

The proposed discretionary caps for fiscal year 2006 are severe and almost certainly would force substantial cuts in domestic discretionary programs.