Conservative Hill Analysis Slams Murray-Ryan Deal

by Andrew Stiles

Conservatives on Capitol Hill are not exactly rushing to embrace the Murray-Ryan budget dealNational Review Online has obtained the following highly critical analysis of the deal that is circulating among House and Senate offices:

Analysis of the Ryan/Murray Spending Package

–It boosts spending right now, a total of $71 billion over the next two years—$63 billion in new discretionary spending, and $8 billion for a 3-month extension of the doc fix.

–The deficit increases under the Ryan/Murray plan for at least the next 3 years.  Net deficit reduction would not begin until FY2017, after President Obama leaves office.

–It is not “paid for” over the Budget Control Act (BCA) window of 2014-2021, eroding the $2.1 trillion in spending cuts that were achieved in the BCA in exchange for the $2.1 trillion debt ceiling increase in 2011.

–Under the Ryan/Murray package, claimed savings during the BCA period come predominately from fee/revenue increases rather than lower spending.  So, it doesn’t reduce government, but rather enables a larger government.

–About half of the $85 billion in “savings” in Ryan/Murray are achieved in 2022-2023, after the BCA period ends.  Most of those savings are from the continuation of policies not included in the baseline, so are the result of baseline games rather than genuine reforms of bankrupt entitlements.

–Accounting for interest costs, which are higher near-term because of the new spending endorsed in the Ryan/Murray package, net reduction in the debt is no more than $15 billion in 10 years.  The $23 billion in deficit reduction claimed by Ryan/Murray does not include interest costs.

–The Ryan/Murray package raids certain Federal trust funds, employing policies that should be used for fixing programs and possible deficit reduction instead for higher spending, like federal retirement contributions changes. 

–This bill reduces retirement benefits for current military members and retirees—who gave 20 or more years of service—but spares current federal civilian employees from any changes to their retirement benefits. 

–It wipes out the need for a budget resolution in 2015, allowing Senate Democrats to again avoid taking hard votes on budget issues on the Senate floor.  And, with all the reserve funds included in the Ryan/Murray package, it allows Harry Reid and Senate Democrats the chance to duck votes on Budget Act points of order against specific bills.