The 2013 Budget Process Moves Forward...Sort Of

The House Republican budget resolution included reconciliation instructions to six committees to find $261 billion in savings over ten years intended to offset $78 billion from delaying the sequester for a year. This week, it appears the committees are ready to mark up the policies they have come up with, and some details have emerged.

The House Financial Services Committee will be striking at many Obama Administration priorities or policies. Their legislation will meet the $30 billion target by repealing the Dodd-Frank Act's FDIC resolution authority for financial institutions ($22 billion), eliminating HAMP ($3 billion), and cutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ($5 billion). In addition, they will reauthorize and reform the National Flood Insurance Program ($5 billion).

Required Savings by Committee (billions)
  2012-2017 2012-2022
Agriculture $20 $33
Energy and Commerce $28 $97
Financial Services $17 $30
Judiciary $11 $40
Oversight and Government Reform $30 $79
Ways and Means $23 $53
Overlapping instructions -$13 -$70
Net Reconciliation Savings $116 $261

The House Judiciary Committee meets its $40 billion target by enacting tort reform as contained in the HEALTH Act (HR 5). CBO estimated that the latest version of the bill would get $50 billion of savings from tort reform.

While there appears to be no legislation available yet, David Rogers of POLITICO discusses savings from the House Agriculture Committee. The Committee is tasked with saving $33 billion, and it appears to come mostly from Food Stamps (SNAP). These savings include ending the temporary SNAP benefit increase two years early ($6 billion), limiting state "Heat and Eat" programs in which states provide small energy assistance benefits in order to bump up SNAP benefits ($14 billion), and tightening other eligibility rules ($6 billion).

The other committees--Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Oversight and Government Reform--must save $97 billion, $53 billion, and $79 billion, respectively. Policies may come from the December House version of the payroll tax cut extension, which include Medicare means-testing, federal workforce cuts, and others.