Budget Conference to Meet Today

October 30, 2013

When Congress voted to end the government shutdown and suspend the debt ceiling until February, they also set a bipartisan budget conference whose goal is to come up with a long-term budget solution.

The last time Congress put together a bipartisan conference, or “super committee,” the process resulted in no deal and the sequester cuts took their effect.

Now another committee will try again with 22 Senators and 7 House members starting today.

Going into the meeting, the Senate Democrats have expressed interest in cancelling the sequester, which is set to reduce spending again in January. Others are looking for modest entitlement reform to reduce spending. According to NBC, Representative Paul Ryan said he’d seek “modest reforms to entitlement programs.” Senator Rob Portman also said entitlement reform could be a target, citing some of the entitlement reform plans put forth by President Obama in his 2014 budget such as raising Medicare Part B costs for wealthy seniors and adjusting Social Security by the more modest Chained-CPI.

Some also suggest that changes to tax law could be on the table. However, due to the divergent goals of the Republicans and Democrats over whether tax reform should raise revenues or focus on economic growth, it is highly unlikely any comprehensive reform could come out of this conference.

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