National Priorities Project Welcomes Budget Agreement, Highlights Failed Opportunity to Budget according to Americans’ Priorities

NPP Pressroom

Deal Fails to Reduce Military Spending, Protect Social Security or End Massive Tax Giveaways for Wealthy and Corporations -- All Things Americans Want

WASHINGTON, D.C.—National Priorities Project (NPP) today characterized the budget conference committee’s agreement, announced on Tuesday, as an important step in stabilizing the nation’s chaotic budget situation for fiscal 2014 and 2015, but also as a failed opportunity to budget in line with broadly held national priorities.

“Republican Paul Ryan and Democrat Patty Murray yesterday took a step toward stabilizing the budget and appropriations process for the next two years. In doing so, however, they failed to create a blueprint that reflects the broadly held priorities of the American people, which include a greatly reduced military budget, closure of tax loopholes for the wealthy and corporations and the protection of critical social programs like Social Security and Medicare. We strongly urge Congress to take this opportunity to recommit to budget and appropriations processes that are transparent and responsive to input from their constituents,” NPP Executive Director Jo Comerford said.

Announced just three days prior to the conference’s Dec. 13 deadline, this deal totaled $85 billion in changes to projected federal spending. Roughly $65 billion of that total reduces the impact of planned across-the-board cuts (known as sequestration) in 2014 and 2015. The remainder is dedicated to reducing budget deficits. Overall discretionary spending for fiscal 2014 under the deal would total $1.012 trillion.

What’s Next in the Budget Battle

The deal announced yesterday is just the first step in getting 2014 funding in place for the federal budget. The House of Representatives and the Senate must approve the agreement, which will then be used by appropriators to create the individual budget bills that fund federal operations. Most likely, those bills will be combined into a single piece of legislation known as an omnibus which will have to be approved by both legislative bodies and then approved by the president.

Larger Context: Times Get Tougher for Millions of Americans

“Budget conference negotiators declined to include an extension of unemployment insurance benefits in their deal, which means out-of-work Americans will soon lose a critical support for themselves and their families. When added to the potential incoming reductions in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), this decision means the economic squeeze felt by millions of low- and moderate-income Americans will only tighten,” Comerford explained.

Comerford also pointed out that in reducing but not eliminating the planned impact of sequestration, the budget conference committee’s deal essentially endorsed and cemented it as a feature of near-term budgets, despite widespread dislike of sequestration among the American public.

Resources for Explaining the Budget

About National Priorities Project

National Priorities Project (NPP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to making our complex federal budget transparent and accessible so people can exercise their right and responsibility to oversee and influence how their tax dollars are spent. Learn more at