Action on Capitol Hill this past week was limited as Congress re-convenes this week. Meanwhile, a Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) report indicates the effects of House member office budget cuts, and the Congressional Budget Office released a report that would save Medicare 500 billion dollars.
Budget Cuts Taking Toll on Congressional Staffs
House members are increasingly feeling the effects of a five percent budget cut passed last year. Already tight budgets have forced drastic reductions in the number of salaried positions and could reduce the amount of services provided.
Under the cuts, House members have seen 948 fewer salaried positions in their offices. The 2012 budget calls for an additional 6.4 percent reduction and more cuts to Congressional staffs and office supplies.
A report conducted by the Congressional Management Foundation claims that this year’s budget will force House member offices to trim an additional 90,000 dollars in each office. A reduction to staff positions could mean decreased constituent services as responsibilities are shifted.
For example, the CMF report offers suggestions on how House member offices can most effectively absorb additional cuts. Most notably, these include salary freezes, a potential shift to increased e-mail use over traditional mail, and limited travel expenses to district functions.
Raising Medicare Age Would Save 500 Billion Dollars
The Congressional Budget Office recently released a report noting that Medicare could save 500 billion dollars if the eligibility age was raised from 65 to 67. The figure would mean five percent savings, enticing Americans to work longer and causing the size of the labor force and total output of the economy to increase by one percent. According to the report, “Many of the people who lose access to Medicare would pay higher premiums for health insurance, pay more out of pocket for health care, or both.”