While the Iowa House and Senate are unable to agree on a state budget, the U.S. House and Senate last (Thursday) night passed a federal budget plan. Congressman Jim Nussle of Manchester, chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee, says the only spending increases are for defense; the rest of the federal government will see cuts. Nussle says non-defense federal spending hasn’t been done since Ronald Reagan was president. “This budget takes the necessary steps to get our spending back on a sustainable path and to continue to reduce that deficit,” Nussle says. The federal budget plan Nussle and other Republicans developed would freeze spending in many federal agencies and cut spending on Medicaid, which is health care for the poor. Nussle says there’s room for efficiency in Medicaid. Nussle says automatic, yearly spending increases for programs like Medicaid have grown out of control, and it’s time to cut back. “This is a reform budget,” Nussle says. “This is a budget that allows us to continue on the path that we need to head.”It also calls for a three-billion dollar cut in agricultural programs, although Nussle says that will not lead to cuts in farm subsidies. “I don’t anticipate that we will be opening the Farm Bill,” Nussle says. Democrats say the budget blueprint Nussle and other G-O-P leaders developed will lead to bigger federal budget deficits. The federal budget would equal two-point-six trillion dollars for the fiscal year that begins October 1st if the plan remains intact.
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