A Statement Regarding the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 by ABB President Dee Stewart

As Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) pointed out in his statement this morning,

“Once again, we are facing a hard deadline and few good options. There is no doubt that a better process would have produced a better result…Ultimately, my vote is going to be determined by the substance of the bill – and whether there is, at this point, a better alternative. As with any budget agreement, this one has some good, some bad, and some ugly. It does include meaningful reforms to strengthen our safety net programs, including significant changes to bolster Social Security. It would allow us to return to regular order in our budget process. And it would mean our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to carry out their mission.”

We at ABB agree with this analysis.  While we would like to see more savings and more reform, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 continues to protect the $2.1 trillion in savings secured from the passage of the 2011 Budget Control Act and even includes some additional measures that will save taxpayer dollars and protect additional Americans from the burdens of Obamacare. As part of these negotiations, several important goals were secured: (1) the most significant reforms to the Social Security program since the first term of the Reagan Administration; (2) fully offset spending above the Budget Control Act caps with deficit reduction; and (3) continue to preserve the deficit reduction protections from the Budget Control Act.

Notably, the legislation achieves structural entitlement reforms to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. These reforms will result in $168 billion in long-term savings.

The bill preserves the savings achieved by the 2011 Budget Control Act by offsetting spending above the caps for FY 2016 and 2017 with deficit reduction. This agreement leaves in place the budget caps for FY 2018 and future years, providing taxpayers with a continued defense against increased spending. The bill also extends the Budget Control Act’s mandatory spending cuts through 2025, which will produce more entitlement savings for taxpayers.

The agreement also includes additional savings, including much needed reforms to federal crop insurance, which is among the fastest growing and most expensive subsidy programs supported by taxpayer dollars. This provision begins to address this problem, saving approximately $3 billion.

Finally, the bill deals a blow to Obamacare, through the elimination of the automatic enrollment mandate that forces employers with more than 200 employees to automatically enroll current and new full-time workers into a qualifying health plan. This gives workers choice and allows them to reject employer-sponsored coverage that they may not need.

While we agree with Paul Ryan that this deal is far from perfect, it includes real entitlement reform and does so without losing any of the deficit reduction locked in by the 2011 Budget Control Act and is the best option available right now.

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