Over the weekend, members of the budget conference that was convened as part of the legislation that ended the government shutdown in October worked on the finishing touches to a budget deal. Late Tuesday afternoon, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the agreement that was reached by the conferees. 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 proposed 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 proposal 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.
It is expected that the House will take up the budget proposal initially, before it passes to the Senate for consideration.
A summary of the major provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 may be found here.