Senate Budget Committee Chair Wants ‘Realistic’ Five-Year Plan

Senate Budget Committee Chair Wants ‘Realistic’ Five-Year Plan


Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) says he wants to get real about the federal budget. Enzi, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, plans to break from past practice and put forth a “realistic” spending and revenue plan that covers five years instead of 10, Roll Call’s Paul M. Krawzak reports.

His budget reportedly would not envision wiping out deficits or achieving balance, in part as the result of the shorter timeframe but also because Enzi says he doesn’t want to rely on gimmicks — and because there’s little appetite among lawmakers for larger spending cuts or tax hikes.

“I’m planning on doing a realistic budget, not a gimmick budget, and I’m hoping that that will lead then to some budget process reform that will get us back on track, reduce spending,” the senator said, according to Roll Call.

Krawzak explains why reaching balance over the shorter timeframe would be daunting: “It would take $5.2 trillion in deficit savings to balance the budget in five years,” he says, “according to Congressional Budget Office baseline estimates. That’s equal to 4.4 percent of U.S. gross domestic product during that period; by contrast the unsuccessful Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan in late 2010, considered too dramatic at the time, would have trimmed deficits by about 1.1 percent of GDP over its first five years, and 2.2 percent over a decade.”

The Senate Budget Committee plans to mark up its fiscal 2020 budget resolution the last week of March, and the House Budget Committee is targeting the first week of April. The Republican-led Senate and Democratic-led House will have to come together to agree on spending levels that are otherwise set to fall sharply under caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act.