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Washington Watch - March 21, 2013

Congress Passes Federal Spending Measure to Keep Government Open

Both the Senate and House recently approved legislation that would allow for the federal government to continue operating through the federal fiscal year, sending the bill to President Obama’s desk.

The bill alleviates some of the sequestration pressure placed on government agencies, specifically money to avert the furloughing of meat inspectors by the Food and Drug Administration , a $10 billion increase in the Department of Defense “operations and maintenance account,” and additional funding for the National Institutes of Health. The bill keeps spending at $982 billion, a tick down from the $1.043 trillion from the previous fiscal year.

The Senate and House will now pivot to addressing the sequestration cuts and passing competing budgets for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Rep. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Murray (D-Wash.) Offer Very Different Budget Plans

With the federal government operating through the end of the current fiscal year, House and Senate leaders turn to working on a budget for the next fiscal year, pitting Democrats and Republicans against one another in a philosophical throw down on the role of government and spending.

Ryan Budget
Passed by the House on Mar. 21, Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan outlines a 10-year plan for balancing the federal budget, reducing the deficit, and reforming the Medicare system. The Ryan budget achieves a balanced budget through no increased revenue, but rather by slashing current government spending and cutting the corporate tax rate. The plan also calls for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Learn more about the Ryan budget.

Murray Budget
As the new Senate Budget Committee Chair, Sen. Patty Murray has put forth the first Democratic budget proposal in four years in an attempt to counter the Republican budget proposal by Rep. Ryan and slap down the claims that Democrats are not serious about controlling the deficit and government spending. The Murray budget does not balance the federal budget, but rather brings under control the rapid increase of spending. Murray’s budget does this by increasing revenue through $1 billion in tax increases, another stark difference from the Ryan budget. Read the Murray budget plan.

In Statement, NASE Highlights Two Needed Health Insurance Market Reforms

In a Statement for the Record to the House Ways and Means Committee, the NASE highlighted two market reforms that would help the self-employed comply with the individual insurance mandate included in the Affordable Care Act: full deduction of health insurance costs for the self-employed and expansion of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). These are both tools that would allow the self-employed to remain compliant with the health insurance requirements under the law but also help manage the expected 10 to 13 percent increase in premium costs. Read how the NASE is advocating for you in Washington, D.C.

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