Breaking record paralysis that has resulted in this Congress being the least productive in history, the Senate on Wednesday passed the budget deal brokered by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). Among other provisions, the proposed budget includes caps on salaries of federal contractors, reduction of cost-of-living increases for certain military pension recipients, and the imposition of higher aviation security fees.
The majority of mandatory sequester cuts that have been in effect since earlier this year are still largely in place, though the budget raises the 2014 spending level to approximately $1.012 trillion (about $45 billion over 2013 levels), and provides approximately $63 billion in sequester relief spread over 2014 and 2015. Approximately $28 billion of savings come from leaving in place the cuts to Medicare imposed by the sequester, and extending those cuts for two years past what was initially in place. Medicaid spending is largely unaffected, though the legislation does include measures that seek to prevent fraud and abuse in Medicaid, with potential cost savings of $1.4 billion. These provisions include allowing states to delay paying on claims that may be suspect, and allowing states to go after medical child support when health insurance is available through a non-custodial parent.