Rep. Van Hollen and the Congressional Black Caucus Unveil FY 2012 Budgets

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, has released his own budget proposal to counter that of Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Van Hollen's plan reaches primary balance in 2018 by reducing the deficit by over $1.2 trillion more than President Obama's official FY 2012 budget proposal. The Van Hollen budget:

  • Echoes the President's call for a five-year non-security spending freeze, but with different policy recommendations.
  • Cuts security spending $308 billion below President Obama's request.
  • Provides no funding for Overseas Contigency Operations past 2015, saving $309 billion.
  • Reduces Agriculture Subsidies by $20 billion.
  • Patches the AMT and SGR.
  • Approves the level, but not the specifics, of President Obama's tax reform.
  • Extends 2001/2003 tax cuts for families earning below $250,000.
  • Creates Infrastructure Bank and fully funds Pell Grants and Food Stamps at the President's level.

This plan, while not as aggressive in strict deficit reduction as the other plans released, does have some meaningful deficit reduction. It does not go after the main drivers of our long-term debt, notably health care, but it does deserve praise for offering some specifics.

Additionally, the Congressional Black Caucus has released a budget blueprint of its own. The plan lowers deficits by $3.96 trillion over the next ten years. This represents yet another serious plan to reduce the nation's debt and deficits, including options for reforming the tax code and dealing with health care.

Some of the things the plan calls for are (savings are over ten years):

  • Tax capital gains and dividends as ordinary income, raising an additional $950 billion.
  • Financial Speculation Tax of 0.25 percent on stock transactions, raising an additional $835 billion.
  • Millionaire surcharge tax of 5.4 percent, raising an additional $573 billion.
  • Close certain corporate tax loopholes, raising an additional $1.3 trillion.
  • Creation of a public option for health care, which would save $88 billion.
  • Various increases in spending for investment.