The “Require a PLAN Act,” is new legislation sponsored by Representative Tom Price (R-Ga.). This new bill would require the president to submit a budget that balances in 10 years. If not balanced in 10 years the proposed budget would identify at what point in the future, under the president’s plan, the budget would come into balance. During President Obama’s first term no proposed budget the president offered was a balanced budget.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Senate have not brought forth a budget in 1,376 days.
Today the House is expected to vote on the PLAN Act, a bill that would require the president to submit an additional budget outline if his fiscal year 2014 offering doesn’t balance the budget. Here are the five things you need to know about the PLAN Act:
- What Are The Specific Provisions Of The PLAN Act? According to a Congressional Research Service summary, the legislation ‘Directs the President, if his budget for FY2014, as submitted to Congress, results in a projected deficit in every fiscal year for which estimates are provided in it, to submit by April 1, 2013, a supplemental unified budget that includes: the information required by law for the President’s budget; an estimate of the earliest fiscal year in which the supplemental budget is not projected to result in a deficit; a detailed description of additional policies to be implemented in order to achieve such result, and an explanation of the differences between the President’s original FY2014 budget and the supplemental unified budget.’
- Will The PLAN Act Result In A Balanced Budget? No, Congress would still have to adopt the policies that the president outlined in his proposal.
- Will The PLAN Act Require The President To Commit To Simpson-Bowles? No, it will not. The PLAN Act only requires the president to submit a detailed description of his preferences for balancing the budget. A bipartisan group of lawmakers may offer an amendment that would require the president to agree to Simpson-Bowles, but that amendment has not yet been considered.
- The Senate Will Pass This Bill, Right? Not likely. Even if the House passes the bill, there is no similar piece of legislation on the docket in the Senate and the Senate is unlikely to take up the House version. In other words, the PLAN Act isn’t really going anywhere.
- What Is The Point Of Passing The PLAN Act Then? The legislation is an effort to get the president to reveal his policy preferences for balancing the budget. The president did not endorse the proposal offered by his deficit commission (the previously mentioned Simpson-Bowles plan) and has submitted no concrete plan of his own to bring the budget into balance. In fact, as Republicans note, President Obama missed this year’s budget deadline (as he has in the past) and seems to want to rely on tax increases almost exclusively to solve the nation’s debt problems. So the PLAN Act is somewhat political, but its sponsors are right: until lawmakers have a specific outline for tackling the deficit and debt, they won’t be forced to make any hard decisions and will continue to seek and pass short-term fixes. But that statement is not only true of the president: it’s true of lawmakers in Congress too.
(Via Bankrupting America.)