The fact that House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) double counted savings in their budget deal means that the bill actually increases the deficit by several billion dollars, Breitbart News has learned.
Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) detailed on the Senate floor on Tuesday how Ryan and Murray used double counting accounting methodologies to make it appear as though they cut the deficit. Similar tactics, Sessions noted, have been used in big pieces of legislation like Obamacare.
In the section-by-section analysis of the Ryan-Murray plan that Senate Budget Committee GOP staff published on Monday, Sessions’ staff determined the amount of money double-counted in deficit reduction in this bill to be $28 billion.
“Sec. 101 also continues the sequestration of certain mandatory accounts required under the BCA [Budget Control Act] for an additional two years (2022 and 2023) to reduce deficits by $28 billion,” the Sessions’ staff analysis reads near the top of its second page. “Approximately $22 billion of that amount comes from extending the 2% Medicare sequester. This is a cut to health care providers–in other words, not a true reform–and it sunsets in 2023. A large part of the Medicare savings accrues to the Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund for Part A, so the proposal uses trust fund savings to increase discretionary spending.”
The number $28 billion in the first sentence of that paragraph is the exact amount double-counted by the Ryan-Murray budget deal.
Ryan and Murray have touted the plan as having totaled $23 billion in net deficit reduction over a 10-year budget window that begins with increased spending and ends in the out years with cuts. But, since they double counted $28 billion worth of savings in the bill, that means the plan would actually increase the federal deficit.
Based solely on undoing the double counting in the plan, the Ryan-Murray bill would actually increase the federal deficit by at least $5 billion. But that is hardly the only place where Ryan and Murray used budget gimmicks to make the plan sound more appealing.
In the 10-year budget window created by the Ryan-Murray plan that ends in 2023, a Senate GOP aide told Breitbart News that the interest on the borrowed money for the $63 billion in immediate new spending increases would be about an additional $10.5 billion.
As Breitbart News detailed in a fact-check of Ryan’s selling of the plan to House members this weekend, Ryan and Murray specifically chose not to ask the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to include that interest on the borrowed money in its estimate of the deal–despite the fact that CBO would have if asked. The CBO actually did so for the Budget Control Act (BCA), the sequester legislation that the Ryan-Murray deal would replace.
Factoring that additional $10.5 billion in costs into the now $5 billion in deficit increases, the deal would add about $15.5 billion to the national deficit.
That $15.5 billion increase to the national deficit that this bill would cause only includes corrections to Ryan’s and Murray’s interest payments and the double counting. It does not take into account any other gimmicks that could have been used that have not been discovered or publicized yet due to the rushed nature of the passage of the plan out of both the House and the Senate.