As Chairman of the House Rules Committee, a former member of the House Budget Committee, and a member of the fiscally conservative Republican Study Committee, I am very involved in the federal budget process. Throughout my tenure in the United States House of Representatives, I have continually advocated for pro-growth solutions that contribute to American economic expansion. This begins with a budget that limits government intrusion into the free market, eliminates wasteful government spending, reforms entitlements, and fixes our broken tax code.
Some in Congress tend to think raising taxes will solve our nation’s fiscal woes. These same people think that additional government spending will lead to economic growth. In reality, tax increases hit job creators and hard-working families and slow our economy further. Instead of wasting more of taxpayer dollars, what the federal government needs to do is stop spending too much.
The Congressional budget resolution establishes discretionary spending priorities by setting an overall spending limit for the government and dividing that spending among the 20 major functional categories of the federal budget. These allocations are referred to as 302(a) and represent the overall discretionary spending cap. In order for the FY2017 appropriations process to move forward, the 302(a) allocation in the budget resolution needs to be at the $1.070 trillion level established in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.
Each subcommittee is allocated a certain amount of funding under the full Committee’s 302(a) allocation. The subcommittee allocations are referred to as 302(b) and they establish the cap on spending for each of the individual appropriations bills. It is important to note that the subcommittees themselves don’t determine the level of funding for each bill; they only determine how that money is spent among the agencies and programs under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction within the 302(b) spending cap.
The FY17 House Budget Resolution, introduced by Chairman Tom Price and written at $1.070 trillion is consistent with the 302(a) allocation set forth in Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Revenue and spending estimates are provided CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation. Under current practice, they provide estimates based on a 10-year period called the “budget window”. The purpose of the budget window is to help us understand both the short term and long term fiscal impacts of a proposal.
In the case of the FY17 House Budget Resolution, FY17 spending would be consistent with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 spending caps. But for the following nine years, the remainder of the budget window, spending would be below the discretionary caps established in the Budget Control Act of 2011. Without a change in policy, the Federal Government will spend $50.6 trillion over the next 10 years. Under the FY17 House budget proposal, the federal government would be cut by $6.5 trillion cut over 10 years.
If our fiscal projections remain on the current path and without any changes in law, CBO projects real GDP growth to average only 2.1 percent over the next decade— well below the modern historical rate of 3.0 percent. To put this number in perspective, every 0.1 percentage point of slower-than-expected GDP growth over the budget window increases deficit levels by $327 billion.
The FY17 House Budget Resolution offers real solutions to fundamentally change this trend line and put us on a path to accelerated GDP growth. Our conservative budget embraces free-marketplace principles and:
- Balances the budget within 10 years
- Includes instructions for a $30 billion mandatory savings package in order to reform the true drivers of our debt
- Cuts spending by more than $6 trillion
- Will fully fund defense base requirements
- Fully repeals Obamacare and promotes access to patient-centered health care reform
- Saves, strengthens, and secures Medicare and Medicaid.
Importantly, it achieves these priorities without raising taxes. If this FY17 House Budget Resolution were passed, House Republicans would also have the opportunity to advance a functioning appropriations process. Without a functioning appropriations process, the House cannot use its power of the purse to stop the Obama Administration from enacting some of its most invidious policies.
With a functioning appropriations process, we would be able to fight to enact new conservative policy riders, such as:
- Prohibit implementation of the controversial EPA Waters of the US (WOTUS) regulation
- Repeal the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule
- Prevent EPA implementation of new greenhouse gas regulations for new and existing power plants
In 2010, I boldly proclaimed that our party would retire Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. Political pundits – and even members of our party – thought that was impossible, but we did it. Since that victory, Republicans have used the appropriations process to achieve significant policy victories. Here are some examples:
- Cut the EPA back to 1989 staff levels (2,359 employees cut)
- Banned public funding of abortions in Washington, DC
- Prohibited the closure of Guantanamo Bay and the transfer of prisoners
- Blocked the EPA’s coal dust rule
- Blocked the EPA’s regulation of lead ammo
There’s a final reason why it is so important that the House and Senate pass a budget called budget reconciliation. Budget reconciliation is a tool embedded within the congressional budget resolution and the budget process that gives Congress the opportunity to ensure the spending levels are enforced.
Just as importantly, budget reconciliation allows the House to work with the Senate so that the Senate can pass legislation without the threat of a filibuster, which means that budget reconciliation represents the rare opportunity to pass a bill in the Senate with a simple majority of 51 votes instead of 60 votes.
Consistent with the commitment made to the American people when Republicans won the House majority, the FY17 House Budget Resolution also requires consideration of a balanced budget amendment this year and makes much-needed procedural reforms to the outdated 1974 Congressional Budget Act. Republicans have been fighting for years for a balanced budget amendment because it is a critical step toward permanently ending Congress’s addiction to deficit spending. Past attempts to impose fiscal discipline on Congress have failed because they are short-term. A constitutional amendment that requires Congress to balance its budget each year, subject only to limited and difficult-to-invoke exceptions is a permanent structural limit that would exist independent of future congressional budget resolutions.
In addition to the structural reforms made in the FY17 House Budget Resolution, I strongly support passage of legislation that would reassert Congress’ Article I responsibility to set policy priorities in spending measures. I am a proud cosponsor of Congressman Ken Buck’s legislation, H.R. 4371, the Article I Consolidated Appropriations Amendments, 2016 Act. H.R. 4371 includes many provisions that have already been vetted by House appropriations committees and included in underlying appropriations bills, as well as those that have passed the House of Representatives on the floor but were not signed into law.
A product of the private sector, I understand the need to fight unnecessary bureaucracy and to utilize market-driven solutions to effectively solve problems in our communities and in government. I know that America can and will again become prosperous beyond imagination and millions of new private-sector jobs will be created if we would just get back to our founding, free-marketplace principles and end big government and wasteful spending.
More on Budget
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, released the following statement on President Trump’s recissions package submitted to Congress:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the House Rules Committee, released the following statement applauding the passage of the Senate amendment to the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution:
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions(R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, released the following statement applauding the passage of the budget resolution for fiscal year 2018:
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, released the following statement in response to President Trump's 2018 budget proposal:
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Washington, DC – Congressman Pete Sessions (TX-32) has received a top award from the American Conservative Union (ACU) for his conservative voting record in the 2nd Session of the 110th Congress.
This week, as you know, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed cases of the H1N1 “Swine flu” virus in North Texas, including several cases in my congressional district.
In an increasingly global community, health risks become a shared challenge, and the confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu virus present an opportunity for increased awareness and common-sense health care precautions.