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Maybe Democrats Didn't Do So Bad In The Budget Deal After All

The original Ryan Budget called for $US1.0139 trillion in discretionary spending in 2014. The Murray-Ryan deal sets is at $US1.012 trillion. Seems like a huge loss for Democrats, right? Not so fast.

The chart we posted yesterday from the Center for American Progress (CAP) compared the final budget agreement with different budget proposals made by Rep. Paul Ryan, Senate Democrats and President Obama the past few years. The discretionary spending in the final deal was well below the president’s proposal ($1.203 trillion) and the Senate budget ($1.058 trillion), but above this year’s Ryan Budget ($967 billion). Still, the fact that discretionary spending will be less next year than in the original Ryan Budget was shocking. Had Democrats accepted more austerity than Ryan even originally envisioned?

Yes and no.

Loren Adler from the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) dug into the numbers and broke them out by defence and non-defence spending. That tells a different story. Take a look:

CRFB budgetCenter for a Responsible Federal Budget

Total discretionary spending in the Murray-Ryan budget is below that of the original Ryan budget, but that is only because of defence spending. In Ryan’s original budget, he called for $US620 billion in defence spending. The final agreement has $US90 billion less.

On the non-defence side, the original Ryan budget called for $US429 billion in spending, but the final amount was $US63 billion more than that.

Compared with the original Ryan Budget, defence spending is way down and non-defence up, leaving total discretionary spending a bit down overall. That’s still not good but it isn’t as bad as CAP’s chart suggests.

(h/t Brad Plumer)

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