Tag Archives: Spending cuts

Let Obama Leap Off the Fiscal Cliff Alone

The editorial cartoon on the left perfectly summarizes the political situation surrounding fiscal cliff negotiations. The lesson is Republicans will be blamed regardless.

CNN and Pew Research Center polls show a majority of the public will blame the GOP if the country goes over the cliff, even if Speaker Boehner fetches coffee for Obama during negotiations and compliments Michelle on her triceps.

To avoid this the GOP must start thinking strategically. That and take some very useful advice from two unlikely sources: Grover Norquist and Barack Obama.

Norquist urges Republicans to televise negotiations. This is a good idea that will allow the public to see just how intransigent Democrats are. While Obama warns House Republicans to get out of the way, which is exactly what they should do.

While the TV cameras are humming, Boehner should recognize the President built his campaign around raising taxes and voters supported that agenda. Boehner should explain that although Republicans disagree and believe Obama’s policies will plunge the nation back into a recession, if not depression, the people have spoken and Republicans will not obstruct him in any way.

Then — as Dante wrote about denizens of one level of the Inferno — we let Obama be himself with a vengeance. Republicans simply vote ‘present’ and, following the Obamacare precedent, the President’s socialistic, dangerous policy passes without a single Republican vote.

We lose tactically in the short run, but we win strategically in the long run. Negotiating minor cuts at the margin now not only won’t be a victory, it will allow Obama — and his Hallelujah Chorus in the media — to blame the failure of his fiscal policy on Republicans. That is impossible if Obama gets his way.

What’s more, bickering over petty spending cuts, discredits major cuts as a viable debt reduction strategy in the future. When these rounding–error cuts fail to make a difference, Democrats and the media will claim we tried cutting and it didn’t work.

Keep in mind Republican House leadership has a bad track record when it comes to negotiating cuts anyway. The last time we had a debt confrontation in 2011, Boehner came up with a total of $352 million in cuts. To put that in perspective, the amount represents one–tenth of one percent of the budget.

Whoop–tee–freakin’–doo. It would have made more sense to take the “savings” and buy lottery tickets. Last week’s Powerball jackpot was almost twice as large as the “cuts.”

And the wealthy job creators Obama’s tax increase will harm? I repeat, any Obama compromise means Republicans own the failure, because Obama didn’t get all he knew the nation really needed. And in the unlikely event he succeeds — and remember the media will set the bar remarkably low — Obama gets all the credit.

Some will object that House Republicans have just as strong a mandate as Obama, since they were elected, too. But that’s horse hockey. GOP congressmen were re–elected in gerrymandered districts designed to be impossible for Democrats to win. Obama won the entire nation and he’s right about his mandate, misguided as it is.

If recognizing the results of a democratic election is the proper policy in Egypt, it’s the proper policy here, even if the Socialism Brotherhood was the winner.

Holding out for miniscule spending cuts is simply negotiating the length of the rope Obama will use to hang Congressional Republicans.

There are only two instances where the GOP should fight today. One is opposing giving up Congressional debt ceiling authority in the future. The other is Boehner’s promise that if the Democrat Senate changes filibuster rules, all subsequent Senate bills will be DOA in the House.

Giving the President unilateral debt ceiling authority is like giving the Times Square homeless man a pair of boots and a credit card. No Congressional debt authority, along with rewriting filibuster rules, would cause long–term damage to the country and set a dangerous precedent.

Otherwise, let Obama own the agenda and own the responsibility. It will be impossible to blame Republicans for a result they did not in any way impede.

Our goal should be winning in 2014. It’s the asymmetrical strategy I advocated recently; and it is the kind of strategic thinking Republicans need to start utilizing.

Two years of short term pain will result in House and Senate gains that will allow Republicans to start reversing the course of Obamaism. Besides, I want to watch Democrats try to run in 2014 on a platform of “Osama’s Dead & So Is the Economy.”

Distinguishing Leadership from Politicianship

Defendants await a ruling from the Prince William Co Human Rights Commission

The feds aren’t alone in dealing with budgets this time of year. Although “dealing” is somewhat generous, since Uncle Sam doesn’t have to balance his. Congress and the President are content to blame unforeseen circumstances — George Bush, climate change or a spontaneous reaction to an anti–Mohammed video — for causing deficit spending, while they wait in the ‘withdrawals only’ line at the National Bank of China.

State and local governments don’t have that luxury and how your local elected officials deal with budgets can provide a useful benchmark in evaluating the performance of Republicans in Congress during discussions designed to avoid the fiscal cliff. (There is no need to evaluate Spendacrats. They will spend as much as possible and mislead gullible Republicans when it comes to budget “cuts.”)

Where I live in Virginia, Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, takes an approach to cutting the budget that I wish Congressional Republicans would emulate. Stewart has actually marked individual programs for termination or severe cuts. This alone qualifies as leadership.

Lazy, gutless politicians avoid being pinned down on which programs to cut. And this failure includes both conservatives and liberals. Instead they advocate “equitable, across–the–board cuts.” This budget–cutting socialism is a gift to the lazy at the expense of the competent. In this way the Intergovernmental Steering Group for Immediate Climate Action and Icecap Outreach gets the same ten percent cut as the police department.

This is politicianship and elected “leaders” do it so they won’t be blamed for eliminating a program a handful of “community activists” support. Come election time the shameless pol can even claim he “saved the program from drastic cuts that would have imperiled its mission.”

Arlington County, VA politicians use another dodge. They direct the county executive to choose the budget cuts. When outraged poodle owners want to know why working–women–doggie–daycare was cut from the parks and recreation budget, the spineless “leader” blames a heartless, cat–owning bureaucrat.

Skeptics will say Stewart had to cut the budget because he’s running for Lt. Governor and a tax increase would make it impossible for him to win the nomination. But Stewart could just as easily call for across–the-board cuts or delegate to the county executive like Arlington Democrats. Not doing so is an important point in his favor.

Stewart wants to cut $9 million from the 2014 budget so property tax bills will remain flat. Some of his larger cuts include eliminating $3.6 million from the Health Department and $626,000 from the Juvenile Court Services Unit.

Stewart courageously advocates ending $941,000 in feel–good donations to non–profits. If he succeeds, supervisors will no longer be able to use public tax dollars to subsidize their private charitable preferences. Stewart also vetoes “arts” grant donations, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Northern Virginia Family Services and Legal Services of Northern VA.

An almost $2 million cut comes from the Transportation & Roadway Improvement Program — another public money kitty that allows individual supervisors to spend our taxes on traffic light installations and road improvements in their district.

In addition to fellow board members, Stewart is willing to take on friends of the library, seniors and the school board. He would close neighborhood libraries two days a week, make senior recreational tours self–supporting and remove four middle school police officers.

This is why leadership is hard. Decisions to cut spending are unpopular, particularly with those who were doing or receiving the spending. The vast majority of politicians in Washington just want to be loved and re–elected, without being bothered to make decisions that produce discord at town meetings. One of the few exceptions is Sen. Tom Coburn (R–OK) and you can imagine how popular he is.

If you ask me, it makes more sense to keep the libraries open and save $500,000 by abolishing the Prince William County Human Rights Commission. This pretentious engine of local moral posturing has been wasting money since 1993. Our own little Nuremburg duplicates federal and state programs, while entertaining a punishing 145 cases a year, most of which have — according to the executive director — “no probable cause.” Which is a nice way of saying the plaintiff is either lying, delusional or a board member of Mexicans Without Borders.

When asked by reporter Graelyn Brashear if the commission is effective, the director said that’s a tough question because there are no measures of success. Translated for taxpayers, it means this job is almost as good as being a diversity bureaucrat in the school system.

Budget cutting, like liberty, requires constant vigilance. According to Stewart the PWC budget more than doubled between 2000 and 2006, while during his seven years as chairman it only increased a total of 6.6 percent.

Stewart’s budget cutting won’t win him friends on the board or get him invited to speak at annual banquets put on by non–profits to flatter the politicians who distribute tax dollars. But it is leadership and it is a standard conservatives should apply to politicians at all levels.

We can't cut the debt just by cutting spending…

The U.S. national debt can’t be trimmed by cutting spending alone. That is the illogical and easily-disproved lie circulating through the main stream media.  It’s a mantra that is repeated… over, and over, and over.  Considering that this claim is at the core of the current progressive demand for tax increases, it’s sad that only a handful of fiscal conservatives are taking people to task on the complete dishonesty of the position.

Keeping this as basic as possible so that even the political establishment types in Washington might understand it – if we keep cutting spending until the government spends less in a year than it receives in taxes (innovative concept!) and then we apply the money that’s left over to our debt, that will actually lower the national debt.

So hypothetically, if the government collects $2.5 trillion in taxes this year and our politicians could manage to squeak by on spending only a measly $2 trillion,  the debt could be lowered by half a trillion dollars. No kidding, I did the math on it myself.

Nowhere in that equation was there a need to mention raising taxes.

There is one catch in this plan that should be explained for the political elite.  “Cut spending” does not mean a smaller increase in spending than the one politicians had budgeted for.  “Cut spending” means actually spending less this year than last year.

As this oh-so complicated example shows, it is possible to lower the national debt just by cutting spending.  The problem is that it requires cutting spending in areas that the leaders of both political parties don’t want to cut.

A quick look at the U.S. debt clock shows that the country is quickly being spent into oblivion.  To avoid an economic catastrophe, some tough decisions are going to have to be made – it’s time for members of Congress to put on their big boy pants and start acting like adults.

Of course, if anyone ever does try to cut spending enough to lower the national debt, that effort will immediately be met with sob stories about all the people who will be hurt.  While it’s true that some people might be temporarily hurt by massive spending cuts, the cuts themselves aren’t to blame for the hardships they case.  The real problem is the progressive politicians who made people dependent on government in the first place.

Unfortunately, that is the situation we’re in if we want to keep the country from collapsing under all this debt.  If we don’t make some uncomfortable cuts in government spending, we’re all going to feel a much greater pain… and soon.

McConnell: Obama Rejected Bi-Partisan Debt Proposal

Obama_and_Mitch_McConnellToday, Mitch McConnell spoke out on the political games being played by the White House on the debt battle. While on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said [emphasis mine]:

The responsible path forward was clear to everyone – a plan that avoided default and required additional savings before any further increase in the debt ceiling. Leaders from both parties and both houses agreed that this was the right path forward legislatively – the only thing to do at that point was to present this bipartisan solution to the president. And what was the president’s response? Well, unfortunately, to demand the largest single debt limit increase in history…

There’s absolutely no economic justification for insisting on a debt limit increase that brings us through the next election. It’s not the beginning of a fiscal year, it’s not the beginning of a calendar year, based on his own words its hard to conclude that this request has anything to do with anything other than the president’s re-election.

This weekend we offered the President a bipartisan proposal to avoid default so we could have the time we need to put together a serious plan for getting our house in order and he rejected it out of hand.

What happened to compromise? President Obama reportedly rejected the proposal to force a one-time, large debt-ceiling increase instead of a phased pair of smaller increases with real spending cuts attached. Now, both the House and Senate are hardening their stances and producing plans neither will be able to accept. All because Obama wanted all-or-nothing.

Senate Democrats have offered a plan full of gimmicks. The majority of cuts come from funding on Iraq that was never going to be spent as the war is over. The rest is on supposed savings from interest on the debt. While no actual spending cuts take place in the $2.7 trillion worth of reductions and the “savings” are over the next ten years in the plan presented by Reid, the $2.4 trillion in debt ceiling increase happens immediately. Reid’s larger problem is that because the plan contains no tax hikes, a large portion of his party may not support it. For the Democrat-led Senate, it’s tax-and-spend or nothing.

House Republicans are proposing a two phase plan. In the first round, the debt ceiling is only raised $1 trillion while $1 trillion in cuts are taken “up front”. The second part of the plan requires another debt committee. this time with 12 members of Congress to recommend deeper cuts. The plan also calls on Congress to vote on a balanced-budget amendment in the fourth quarter of this year. But Speaker Boehner has his hands full too. Jim Jordan, one of the sponsors of the cut, cap and balance bill has already publicly said that he does not support this new plan as has President Obama and Harry Reid.

The bi-partisan agreement was most-likely the last best hope for the two sides to come together and in a show of absolute lack of leadership – the president killed it.

Harry Reid Set to Release “Foolish” Budget Plan

In May, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that “There’s no need to have a Democratic budget in my opinion.” and that “It would be  foolish for us to do a budget at this stage.” The do-nothing Senate, led by Reid, has failed to do much of anything – useful or otherwise –  on the nation’s budget crisis. Apparently, that has been intentional. “Senate Democrats are desperately trying to avoid having to present a budget to the American people,” said Senator Jeff Sessions. “They know that the big spenders in their caucus prevent them from bringing forward a credible plan that both their party and the country can support.”

Since then, the House Republicans have produced the Ryan plan and Cut, Cap and Balance. Not afraid to have their motivations on paper for all to see, they’ve done their work. The Senate Democrats seem more worried about being re-elected than performing their duty.

Well, turn the page, and today Harry Reid releases a Democrat budget plan for the first time in over 890 days. Or did he?

The plan is so far, just a statement:

  • Raises the debt ceiling $2.4 trillion as requested by the President
  • Proposes slashing spending $2.7 trillion without touching entitlements or raising taxes

Unfortunately, the plan has not been officially presented to show any validity to the spending cut numbers which most agree is impossible without entitlement reform and a tremendous broadening of the tax base to include the 50% of Americans that do not currently pay any federal income tax.

Considering Reid’s stance on putting his intentions in writing, it is difficult to expect that the plan will be anything more than a proposal to immediately increase the debt ceiling while Senate committees discuss how to get the cuts promised in his plan. That set of activities will likely end the same way as the deals made with Reagan and Bush where the Democrats agreed to spending cuts in order to get tax increases. The tax increases went in immediately and the spending cuts never materialized.

Congress, the President and even the media are continuing to create artificial deadlines in order to manufacture a climate of crisis. On Friday, the media was ripe with commentary and quotations telling Americans that if no debt deal was had by Sunday night, the Asian markets would collapse today. That hasn’t happened – at all.

Instead, it is reasonable to expect that continued date-pressure will be used to hurry bad plans through Congress – much like the rush to get Health Care Reform instituted.

Democrats Dumb Things Down Better Than Republicans

The debt ceiling debate will most-likely become the GOP’s fault. Not because the lion’s share of spending is from Republican policies, but because Democrats are much better at speaking in generalities, obscuring facts and planting doubt.

Republican Study Committee Logo

Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, was on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace facing Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland).

Chris Wallace made an interesting point, one that Van Hollen was eager to let pass without comment, that Jordan missed the opportunity to make a strong point on, and Wallace did a poor job of exploring: what happens if the debt ceiling isn’t raised on August 2nd?

Chris presented the issue by saying that if we pay Social Security first, some top government programs would have to take cuts of around 40%. A slide was displayed that listed programs like the Veterans Administration, the FAA, and more. Van Hollen let the slide go without comment realizing the trap. For Jordan, it perfectly illustrated the terrible situation America is in – we’re broke. After paying Social Security, many government programs are beyond our ability to fund. If we raise the debt ceiling, we are admitting that we can’t afford these programs and are too dense to do anything about it.

Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat on the House Budget Committee was flawless. Talking points firmly memorized and facts transmogrified into fear-mongering platitudes, he was able to defeat every one of Jordan’s responses with nothing but populist garbage.

Jim Jordon is one of the sponsors of the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation that will likely pass the House and fail in the Senate next week. Van Hollen falsely summarized the bill for the weak-minded: [paraphrased]: Their legislation would cut Medicare and give tax breaks to oil companies.

Jordan was ill-prepared for the debate. He was unable to contradict Van Hollen’s Mediscare talking point. In Jordan’s own committee bill (H.R. 2560 – Cut, Cap and Balance) there is a specific subsection that protects Medicare:

EXEMPT FROM DIRECT SPENDING LIMITS.—
Direct spending for the following functions is exempt from the limits specified in subsection (c):
(1) Social Security, function 650.
(2) Medicare, function 570.
(3) Veterans Benefits and Services, function
(4) Net Interest, function 900.

And again, in another section of the legislation, Medicare is exempted from the measure:

(B) Section 255 of the Balanced Budget and Control Act of 1985 shall not apply to this section, except that payments for military personnel accounts (within subfunctional category 051), TRICARE for Life, Medicare (functional category 570), military retirement, social security (functional category 650), veterans (functional category 700), net interest (functional category 900), and discretionary appropriations shall be exempt

There is only one more mention of Medicare in the entire bill and yes.. it also holds Medicare exempt from the proposed legislation.

Cut, cap and balance does not cut Medicare, in fact, it specifically protects it. Van Hollen was wrong and Jordan was not even able to quote legislation he sponsors to point that out. The fact that Chris Wallace was ill-informed is nothing new, but he let the Democrat get away with misleading information.

The right says: we only take in enough money to pay for 60% of our current responsibilities. We have to cut spending to affordable levels or we will face bankruptcy in the next 2 to 3 years.

The left says: they want to cut Medicare and give tax breaks to oil companies.

This is how Democrats intend to keep the spending faucet wide open – flat out lies. Class warfare, scare tactics on Medicare and other fabrications are all they have. Unfortunately, a large portion of America finds it easier to consume the dumbed-down rhetoric from the left, instead of trying to process the logic from the right.

Cut, Cap and Balance [RSC Summary]

Economists agree that the U.S. will face a major debt crisis within the next few years. Erskine Bowles, the top Democrat on President Obama’s debt commission, calls this “the most predictable economic crisis in history.”

One-time spending cuts will not be enough to avert the coming crisis. Neither will toothless promises of cuts 10 years from now. Only permanent changes will do. The answer is spending cuts now, enforceable spending caps, and Congressional passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution – Cut, Cap, and Balance.

As proposed by the Republican Study Committee, Cut, Cap, and Balance entails:

  • Cut – Immediate spending cuts to reduce the deficit by half next year. According to March projections from the Congressional Budget Office, this would require spending cuts of approximately $380 billion in the 2012 fiscal year.
  • Cap – Statutory, enforceable caps that bring spending into line with average revenues at 18% of GDP. Reps. Kingston and Mack have each introduced legislation that would ratchet total federal spending down to 18% of GDP over the course of 5-6 years.
  • Balance – House and Senate passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution that includes a spending cap at 18% of GDP and a supermajority requirement for tax increases. The House Judiciary Committee and all 47 GOP Senators have endorsed Balanced Budget Amendments along these lines. – House and Senate passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution that includes a spending cap at 18% of GDP and a supermajority requirement for tax increases. The House Judiciary Committee and all 47 GOP Senators have endorsed Balanced Budget Amendments along these lines.

In an On Message, Inc. survey of 1,000 likely voters nationwide, large majorities support:

  • Cutting next year’s deficit in half through spending cuts. (Favored 69%-20%)
  • Capping federal spending to no more than 18% of GDP. (Favored 66%-17%)
  • A Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. (Favored 81%-13%)

The survey also found that Americans support a supermajority requirement to raise taxes (Favored 60%-30%).

Asked to choose between the three publicly proposed options for raising the debt limit:

  • 49% chose Cut, Cap, and Balance.
  • 21% chose $2-3 trillion in cuts for a $2 trillion debt limit increase.
  • 9% chose a blank-check debt limit increase with no spending cuts.

Getting the country back on track will also require a stronger economy. But in the face of higher taxes, inflation, interest rates, and regulation, many companies aren’t taking the risk of new hires or opportunities. By preventing the coming debt crisis, Cut, Cap, and Balance will rebuild private sector confidence and help businesses see reasons to hire once more.

Thousands of Americans and dozens of Representatives and Senators have taken the Cut, Cap, and Balance Pledge, promising to oppose any debt limit increase without substantial spending cuts, enforceable caps on spending, and Congressional passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment that also limits spending and requires a supermajority for tax increases.

Source: Republican Study Committee web site: http://rsc.jordan.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Cut-Cap-Balance_1-Pager.pdf

Obama: 80% Favor Balanced Approach [Fact Check]

Obama reiterated several times in this morning’s presser that 80% of voters favored a balanced approach to the debt problem. The President’s idea of a balanced approach is equal tax hikes and budget cuts. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single poll to support his delusion.

A Rasumussen Report poll indicates that only 45% would favor tax increasese in the debt ceiling deal. Reading into the poll further and statistics show that mainstream voters oppose tax hikes in the debt deal by a 68%-22% margin. That would indicate that only 32% of mainstream Americans would like to see tax hikes in the budget deal at all. So where did President Obama get the magic 80% number he spouted so often this morning? Revisionist use of a Gallup Poll:

Americans do not favor a balanced approachObama took the reverse view of the first statistic. While worded to downplay tax hikes, the poll gives a result that 20% of respondents would favor a budget deal with only spending cuts in it. So Obama took the reverse and said that 80% favor a balanced approach (equal tax and cut). Unfortunately, the very poll he sought to use tells a different story. Only 32% of Americans said they favor equal tax hikes and spending cuts. And the poll also shows that 50% of respondents want only/mostly a deal with spending cuts. Less than 12% want a deal with only/mostly tax hikes.

Then again, the Obama administration has said that most Americans don’t pay attention to this debt ceiling stuff. A recent poll says otherwise:

Eighty-five percent (85%) of voters are following the debt ceiling story at least Somewhat Closely. That figure includes 48% who are following it Very Closely. Older voters are following the story more closely than younger voters.

Obama is once again painting a false picture in hopes that Americans will believe it enough to make it true. Most voters do NOT want job-killing tax hikes in the budget deal. Most of us ARE paying attention to the debt ceiling talks. And finally, Mr. President, most voters don’t like you very much right now (polls actually back that assertion up).

McConnell: Obama is the Problem in Debt Fight – the People Agree

In a Wednesday Senate speech, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signaled what most Americans are thinking – Obama is the real obstacle to a budget deal. The Senate Minority leader said, “After years of discussions and months of negotiations, I have little question that as long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is probably unattainable.”

Obama taking a hit

As the debt fight wears on, Obama seems to be taking the brunt of the blame. Although he has tried class warfare, empowering the unions, a rare press conference and blaming everyone within reach, the electorate grows tired of the rhetoric and sees only economic morass, a dwindling future for their kids and a country destroyed by the over-spending of a liberal administration and Congress.

What must be wearing on the President is the most recent sentiment from the American people. The most recent Consumer Confidence Index (June) had dropped 3.2 points to 58.5. No incumbent President has retaken the White House with an index of less than 100.

The Obama White House is very cognizant of the indices, polls, and American sentiment. Obama’s stance has changed drastically from last year. Obama is now talking about how much to cut, not whether or not large cuts in entitlements are needed. Unfortunately, the President isn’t leading on what to cut. Using platitudes and ambiguous references to “shared sacrifice”, “big things” and “pain on both sides” no one knows what the President actually thinks should get cut.

A recent Gallup poll says that 53% of Americans do not want the debt ceiling raised at all, regardless of cuts or a hike in taxes – the most strict possible outcome of the current talks. Obama is still trying to make the debate about tax increases vs. spending cuts as he carefully toes the party line. Americans are telling the President that it’s really about spending cuts, not tax hikes – he’s just not listening.

Mr. Obama’s presidential approval rating stands at 46%. At this point in his Presidency, G.W. Bush was at 62%. Yesterday Rasmussen posted a poll that shows that a generic Republican would beat Obama by 5 points and today’s Presidential approval poll shows that 51% of Americans disapprove of Obama.

Unemployment is rising, not dropping. Obama’s stimulus has failed, his healthcare reform will take the country into bankruptcy and he’s unable to lead through this most basic of issues – the Federal Budget. The budget debate is over the ridiculous increases in spending that the Obama administration has asked for and gotten. If the extreme left-wing of the Democrat party wants a debt ceiling raise it will need to come with substantial spending cuts. If he keeps trying to frame the debt ceiling debate as a taxation vs. spending cuts battle, he’ll lose – and 2012 is just around the corner.

Cut Cap and Balance [Full Text]

Calendar No. 97

 

112th CONGRESS

 

1st Session

 

S. 1340

 

To cut, cap, and balance the Federal budget.

 

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

 

JULY 7, 2011

 

Mr. LEE (for himself, Mr. TOOMEY, Mr. PAUL, Mr. DEMINT, Mr. JOHNSON of Wisconsin, Mr. HATCH, Ms. AYOTTE, Mr. BARRASSO, Mr. BLUNT, Mr. BOOZMAN, Mr. COBURN, Mr. CORKER, Mr. GRAHAM, Mr. ISAKSON, Mr. PORTMAN, Mr. ROBERTS, Mr. RUBIO, Mr. SESSIONS, Mr. THUNE, Mr. VITTER, and Mr. WICKER) introduced the following bill; which was read the first time

 

JULY 11, 2011

 

Read the second time and placed on the calendar

 


A BILL

 

To cut, cap, and balance the Federal budget.

 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2011’.

     

TITLE I–CUT

 

SEC. 101. REDUCTION OF 2012 SPENDING.

    • (1) $1,137,000,000,000 in total new budget authority; and

       

      (2) $1,277,000,000,000 in total budget outlays.

       

  • Fore purposes of section 302(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the estimated allocation of the appropriate levels of budget totals for fiscal year 2012 for the Senate Committee on Appropriations shall be–

     

TITLE II–CAP

 

SEC. 201. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

    It is the sense of Congress that Congress should enact comprehensive tax reform that lowers marginal rates, broadens the base, and simplifies the tax code to increase economic growth while generating revenues that are in line with the historical average of 18% of GDP.

     

SEC. 202. MODIFICATION OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT.

    Title III of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 is amended by inserting at the end the following:

     

‘SEC. 316. DISCRETIONARY SPENDING LIMITS.

      • ‘(A) for the defense category (budget function 050), $575,790,000,000 in budget authority; and

         

        ‘(B) for the non-defense category, $435,000,000,000 in budget authority.

         

        ‘(A) for the defense category (budget function 050), $593,476,000,000 in budget authority; and

         

        ‘(B) for the non-defense category, $435,000,000,000 in budget authority.

         

        ‘(A) for the defense category (budget function 050), $609,549,000,000 in budget authority; and

         

        ‘(B) for the non-defense category, $435,000,000,000 in budget authority.

         

        ‘(A) for the defense category (budget function 050), $621,853,000,000 in budget authority; and

         

        ‘(B) for the non-defense category, $435,000,000,000 in budget authority.

         

        ‘(A) for the defense category (budget function 050), $634,895,000,000 in budget authority; and

         

        ‘(B) for the non-defense category, $435,000,000,000 in budget authority.

         

        ‘(A) for the defense category (budget function 050), $646,458,000,000 in budget authority; and

         

        ‘(B) for the non-defense category, $435,000,000,000 in budget authority.

         

        ‘(A) for the defense category (budget function 050), $658,261,000,000 in budget authority; and

         

        ‘(B) for the non-defense category, $435,000,000,000 in budget authority.

         

        ‘(A) for the defense category (budget function 050), $667,000,000,000 in budget authority; and

         

        ‘(B) for the non-defense category, $435,000,000,000 in budget authority.

         

        ‘(A) for the defense category (budget function 050), $671,000,000,000 in budget authority; and

         

        ‘(B) for the non-defense category, $443,500,000,000 in budget authority.

         

        ‘(A) for the defense category (budget function 050), $695,000,000,000 in budget authority; and

         

        ‘(B) for the non-defense category, $457,700,000,000 in budget authority.

         

    • ‘(1) For fiscal year 2012–

       

      ‘(2) For fiscal year 2013–

       

      ‘(3) For fiscal year 2014–

       

      ‘(4) For fiscal year 2015–

       

      ‘(5) For fiscal year 2016–

       

      ‘(6) For fiscal year 2017–

       

      ‘(7) For fiscal year 2018–

       

      ‘(8) For fiscal year 2019–

       

      ‘(9) For fiscal year 2020–

       

      ‘(10) For fiscal year 2021–

       

      ‘(1) the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the budget may adjust the discretionary spending limits provided in this section, the budgetary aggregates in the concurrent resolution on the budget most recently adopted by the Senate and the House of Representatives, and allocations pursuant to section 302(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, by the amount of new budget authority in that measure for that purpose and the outlays flowing there from; and

       

      ‘(2) following any adjustment under paragraph (1), the Senate Committee on Appropriations may report appropriately revised suballocations pursuant to section 302(b) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 to carry out this subsection.

       

      ‘(1) For fiscal year 2012, $126,500,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(2) For fiscal year 2013, $50,000,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(3) For fiscal year 2014, $50,000,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(4) For fiscal year 2015, $50,000,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(5) For fiscal year 2016, $30,800,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(6) For fiscal year 2017, $8,500,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      • ‘(A) by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members, duly chosen and sworn; or

         

        ‘(B) in the case of defense budget authority, if Congress declares war or authorizes the use of force

         

    • ‘(1) WAIVER- The provisions of this section shall be waived or suspended in the Senate only–

       

      ‘(2) APPEAL- Appeals in the Senate from decisions of the Chair relating to any provision of this section shall be limited to one hour, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the appellant and the manager of the measure. An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members of the Senate, duly chosen and sworn, shall be required to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the Chair on a point of order raised under this section.

       

  • ‘(a) In General- It shall not be in order in the House of Representatives or the Senate to consider any bill, joint resolution, amendment, or conference report that includes any provision that would cause the discretionary spending limits as set forth in this section to be exceeded.

     

    ‘(b) Limits- In this section, the term ‘discretionary spending limits’ has the following meaning:

     

    ‘(c) Adjustments- After the reporting of a bill or joint resolution relating to oversees deployments described in subsection (d), or the offering of an amendment thereto or the submission of a conference report thereon–

     

    ‘(d) Overseas Deployments- If a bill or joint resolution is reported making appropriations for fiscal year 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, or 2017 that provides funding for overseas deployments and activities undertaken as a result of a declaration of war or Congressional authorization of force, the allowable adjustments provided for in subsection (c) shall not exceed the following:

     

    ‘(e) Point of Order in the Senate-

     

‘SEC. 317. CERTAIN MANDATORY SPENDING LIMITS.

    • ‘(1) Social Security, function 650.

       

      ‘(2) Medicare, function 570.

       

      ‘(3) Veterans Benefits and Services, function 700.

       

      ‘(4) Net Interest, function 900.

       

      ‘(1) For fiscal year 2012, $701,640,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(2) For fiscal year 2013, $648,701,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(3) For fiscal year 2014, $580,743,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(4) For fiscal year 2015, $575,423,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(5) For fiscal year 2016, $574,072,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(6) For fiscal year 2017, $568,519,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(7) For fiscal year 2018, $558,645,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(8) For fiscal year 2019, $558,869,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(9) For fiscal year 2020, $566,867,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(10) For fiscal year 2021, $588,162,000,000 in budget authority.

       

      ‘(1) WAIVER- The provisions of this section shall be waived or suspended in the Senate only by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members, duly chosen and sworn.

       

      ‘(2) APPEAL- Appeals in the Senate from decisions of the Chair relating to any provision of this section shall be limited to one hour, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the appellant and the manager of the measure. An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members of the Senate, duly chosen and sworn, shall be required to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the Chair on a point of order raised under this section.

       

  • ‘(a) In General- It shall not be in order in the House of Representatives or the Senate to consider any bill, joint resolution, amendment, or conference report that includes any provision that would cause total on-budget mandatory spending, except as excluded in subsection (b), to exceed the limits specified in subsection (c).

     

    ‘(b) Exempt From Specified Limits- The mandatory components of the following functions are exempt from the limits specified in subsection (c):

     

    ‘(c) Limits on Remaining Mandatory Spending- The total combined budget authority for all mandatory spending not exempted in subsection (b) shall not exceed the following limits:

     

    ‘(d) Point of Order in the Senate-

     

‘SEC. 318. LIMITS FOR SOCIAL SECURITY.

      • ‘(A) For fiscal year 2012, total outlays shall be $760,356,000,000.

         

        ‘(B) For fiscal year 2013, total outlays shall be $798,614,000,000.

         

        ‘(C) For fiscal year 2014, total outlays shall be $841,440,000,000.

         

        ‘(D) For fiscal year 2015, total outlays shall be $887,837,000,000.

         

        ‘(E) For fiscal year 2016, total outlays shall be $938,547,000,000.

         

        ‘(F) For fiscal year 2017, total outlays shall be $995,325,000,000.

         

        ‘(G) For fiscal year 2018, total outlays shall be $1,057,552,000,000.

         

        ‘(H) For fiscal year 2019, total outlays shall be $1,123,629,000,000.

         

        ‘(I) For fiscal year 2020, total outlays shall be $1,193,747,000,000.

         

        ‘(J) For fiscal year 2021, total outlays shall be $1,265,566,000,000.

         

    • ‘(1) IN GENERAL- For purposes of this section the limits are as follows:

       

      ‘(2) EXCEPTION- If the Congressional Budget Office determines that projected outlays are expected to exceed the limits specified above due to changes in cost-of-living adjustments contained in present law subsection (c) shall not apply.

       

      ‘(1) WAIVER- The provisions of this section shall be waived or suspended in the Senate only by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members, duly chosen and sworn.

       

      ‘(2) APPEAL- Appeals in the Senate from decisions of the Chair relating to any provision of this section shall be limited to one hour, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the appellant and the manager of the measure. An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members of the Senate, duly chosen and sworn, shall be required to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the Chair on a point of order raised under this section.

       

  • ‘(a) In General- It shall not be in order in the House of Representatives or the Senate to consider any bill, joint resolution, amendment, or conference report that includes any provision that would cause total mandatory spending for Social Security (function 650) to exceed the limits specified in subsection (b).

     

    ‘(b) Limits-

     

    ‘(c) Point of Order in the Senate-

     

‘SEC. 319. LIMITS FOR MEDICARE.

    • ‘(1) For fiscal year 2012, total outlays, excluding offsetting receipts, shall be $488,060,000,000.

       

      ‘(2) For fiscal year 2013, total outlays, excluding offsetting receipts, shall be $530,767,000,000.

       

      ‘(3) For fiscal year 2014, total outlays, excluding offsetting receipts, shall be $560,744,000,000.

       

      ‘(4) For fiscal year 2015, total outlays, excluding offsetting receipts, shall be $585,256,000,000.

       

      ‘(5) For fiscal year 2016, total outlays, excluding offsetting receipts, shall be $634,769,000,000.

       

      ‘(6) For fiscal year 2017, total outlays, excluding offsetting receipts, shall be $657,799,000,000.

       

      ‘(7) For fiscal year 2018, total outlays, excluding offsetting receipts, shall be $682,951,000,000.

       

      ‘(8) For fiscal year 2019, total outlays, excluding offsetting receipts, shall be $745,186,000,000.

       

      ‘(9) For fiscal year 2020, total outlays, excluding offsetting receipts, shall be $800,853,000,000.

       

      ‘(10) For fiscal year 2021, total outlays, excluding offsetting receipts, shall be $858,830,000,000.

       

      ‘(1) WAIVER- The provisions of this section shall be waived or suspended in the Senate only by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members, duly chosen and sworn.

       

      ‘(2) APPEAL- Appeals in the Senate from decisions of the Chair relating to any provision of this section shall be limited to one hour, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the appellant and the manager of the measure. An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members of the Senate, duly chosen and sworn, shall be required to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the Chair on a point of order raised under this section.

       

  • ‘(a) In General- It shall not be in order in the House of Representatives or the Senate to consider any bill, joint resolution, amendment, or conference report that includes any provision that would cause total mandatory spending for Medicare (function 570) to exceed the limits specified in subsection (b).

     

    ‘(b) Limits- For purposes of this section the limits are as follows:

     

    ‘(c) Point of Order in the Senate-

     

‘SEC. 320. LIMITS FOR MANDATORY FUNCTION 700 SPENDING.

    • ‘(1) For fiscal year 2012, total outlays shall not exceed $69,400,000,000.

       

      ‘(2) For fiscal year 2013, total outlays shall not exceed $69,400,000,000.

       

      ‘(3) For fiscal year 2014, total outlays shall not exceed $71,350,000,000.

       

      ‘(4) For fiscal year 2015, total outlays shall not exceed $73,300,000,000.

       

      ‘(5) For fiscal year 2016, total outlays shall not exceed $80,500,000,000.

       

      ‘(6) For fiscal year 2017, total outlays shall not exceed $77,310,000,000.

       

      ‘(7) For fiscal year 2018, total outlays shall not exceed $74,250,000,000.

       

      ‘(8) For fiscal year 2019, total outlays shall not exceed $81,600,000,000.

       

      ‘(9) For fiscal year 2020, total outlays shall not exceed $83,830,000,000.

       

      ‘(10) For fiscal year 2021, total outlays shall not exceed $86,100,000,000.

       

      ‘(1) WAIVER- The provisions of this section shall be waived or suspended in the Senate only by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members, duly chosen and sworn.

       

      ‘(2) APPEAL- Appeals in the Senate from decisions of the Chair relating to any provision of this section shall be limited to one hour, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the appellant and the manager of the measure. An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members of the Senate, duly chosen and sworn, shall be required to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the Chair on a point of order raised under this section.’.

       

  • ‘(a) In General- It shall not be in order in the House of Representatives or the Senate to consider any bill, joint resolution, amendment, or conference report that includes any provision that would cause total mandatory spending for Veterans Benefits and Services (function 700) to exceed the limits specified in subsection (b).

     

    ‘(b) Limits- For purposes of this section the limits are as follows:

     

    ‘(c) Point of Order in the Senate-

     

SEC. 203. STATUTORY ENFORCEMENT OF SPENDING CAPS THROUGH SEQUESTRATION.

    The Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 is amended by inserting after section 253 the following:

     

‘SEC. 253A. ENFORCEMENT OF DISCRETIONARY AND MANDATORY CAPS.

    • ‘(1) REPORT- Not later than 30 calendar days following the start of each fiscal year, the Office of Management and Budget shall make publicly available and cause to be printed in the Federal Register an annual report containing expected budget authority and outlays for the categories and limits established in sections 316 through 320 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. The limits established in such sections shall be enforced without regard to the waiver of such limits by either House.

       

      ‘(2) ORDER- If the annual report issued by OMB, as required by paragraph (1), shows any category exceeding specified spending caps, OMB shall prepare and the President shall issue and include in that report a sequestration order that, upon issuance, shall reduce budgetary resources by an amount sufficient to bring spending in line with that category’s statutory cap.

       

      ‘(3) EFFECTIVE DATE- The sequestration order shall take effect no later than 60 days after completion by the OMB.

       

      • ‘(A) For the discretionary limits in section 316 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, pursuant to the section 251 with each category sequestered separately.

         

        ‘(B) For the mandatory limits in section 317 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, pursuant to the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, except that section 7 of such Act shall not apply.

         

        ‘(C) For the Social Security limits in section 318 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Social Security Administration shall modify the program so that all benefits and administrative expenses are reduced in a uniform fashion by a percentage sufficient to allow the program to operate under its cap.

         

        ‘(D) For the Medicare limit in section 319 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) shall modify the program so that all outlays are reduced by a uniform percentage sufficient to bring the program under its cap.

         

        ‘(E) For the Veterans Benefits and Services limit in section 320 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall modify the program so that the program operates under its spending cap.

         

    • ‘(1) IN GENERAL- OMB shall calculate the uniform percentage each program within a category that has exceeded its spending cap shall be reduced to bring that category’s budget authority and/or outlays in line with the limits referred to in subsection (a)(1).

       

      ‘(2) IMPLEMENTATION- The sequesters shall be implemented as follows:

       

      ‘(1) IN GENERAL- At any time after the Director of OMB issues a sequestration report, Congress may override the order through the passage of a law that either waves or supersedes the spending limitations for that category of federal spending for that fiscal year.

       

      ‘(2) SENATE- In the Senate, any motion to move to consideration of a bill to waive, modify, or in any way alter a sequestration order shall be subject to a point of order that can only be waived through an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members, duly chosen and sworn. This point of order shall not apply to defense spending while the nation is engaged in a conflict which has been justified through a declaration of war or a Congressional authorization of force.’.

       

  • ‘(a) Annual Report and Sequestration Order-

     

    ‘(b) Calculating a Sequestration-

     

    ‘(c) Modification of Presidential Order-

     

TITLE III–BALANCE

 

SEC. 301. REQUIREMENT THAT BBA BE SUBMITTED TO STATES.

    (a) In General- The Secretary of the Treasury shall not exercise the additional borrowing authority under subsection (b) ofsection 3101 of title 31, United States Code until the date that the Archivist of the United States transmits to the States S.J. Res. 10 as introduced on March 31, 2011, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, or a similar amendment provided it requires that total outlays not exceed total receipts, that contains a spending limitation as a percentage of GDP, and requires that tax increases be approved by a super-majority vote in both houses of Congress, for their ratification.

     

    (b) Amendment to Title 31- Effective on the date that the Archivist of the United States transmits to the States S.J. Res. 10, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, or a similar amendment provided it requires that total outlays not exceed total receipts, that contains a spending limitation as a percentage of GDP, and requires that tax increases be approved by a super-majority vote in both houses of Congress, for their ratification, subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting $16,700,000,000,000.

     

Calendar No. 97

 

112th CONGRESS

 

1st Session

 

S. 1340

 

A BILL

 

To cut, cap, and balance the Federal budget.

 

If Not Now, When?

The debt ceiling is coming! The debt ceiling is coming! Alarmist? Quixotic? Fear-mongering or Real?

There are two perspectives in-play: the fiscal and the psychological.

Fiscally – on a purely logical level – yes, it is that simple. The U.S. could service existing debt, defund Obamacare, and let a government shut-down occur while real cuts take place.

Psychologically, it’s not that simple. First, T-Bill holders will freak, borrowing costs will grow and the debt will becomes much more expensive to service. Second, our members of Congress are sheep. They won’t de-fund Obamacare or push for a shutdown. Therefore, we would not be able to handle our obligations and could see another mini or full default.

The answer has to be a debt ceiling deal with teeth. It cannot be like the Reagan era $2 in cuts for each $1 in taxes (where the tax increase occurred but the spending cuts never did). It must be cuts first, then debt ceiling increases. Liberals (on both sides of the aisle) don’t get what they want until Conservatives see the cuts we need.

I’d like to see a permanent re-write of how the debt ceiling works. It should force every raise of the debt ceiling to be preceded by spending cuts equal to 200% of the requested raise. The cuts in spending would be calculated based on the previous year’s spending. If the cuts don’t happen, the debt ceiling stays put.

It can’t just keep going up. We will have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. So the question becomes, if not now, when?