ATR Opposes Legislation That Busts Spending Caps

Submitted by thebert on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019, 10,00 AM

The House of Representatives is set to vote on a H.R. 2740, a nearly $1 trillion spending bill that will increase government spending to fund the left’s partisan policies.

This “minibus” legislation appropriates approximately $986 billion in discretionary funding. Not only does this bill fail to address deficit reduction, it appropriates $35 billion over the enacted level for FY 2019.

Congress should reject H.R. 2740 and any other legislation that fails to uphold the BCA spending caps.

Compared to current spending levels, the minibus provides twice as much additional funding in FY 2020 for non-defense programs than for defense, and underfunds the Department of Defense by $8 billion. In addition, this legislation spends $52 billion over what President Trump requested in his budget.

This legislation follows the failure of the Democrat-controlled House Budget Committee to do its job and release a budget resolution. Instead, Democrats passed a $1.3 trillion “deeming resolution” in April, violating budget caps laid out in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). The BCA contained an enforcement mechanism that capped discretionary spending in the event an agreement on $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction could not be reached. 

Discretionary spending accounts for 30 percent of total federal spending, and Congress appropriates funding for these programs on an annual basis. The other 70 percent of the federal spending is automatically funded, and comprises programs like Medicare and Social Security. If lawmakers are serious about reducing federal spending in the short term, holding the line on discretionary spending caps is the only option.

Unfortunately, members of Congress from both parties have routinely disregarded the BCA spending caps. In 2018, Congress passed H.R. 1892, the “Bipartisan Budget Act.” The bill broke the BCA spending caps by $296 billion over 2018 and 2019. 

The legislation being taken up today will only worsen the failure to constrain spending. Instead of working to constrain spending and pass a fiscally responsible budget, Democrats have been trying to raise their own pay.

Between failing to offer a budget resolution and forcing a vote on this minibus train wreck, Democrats have shown themselves to be totally incapable of governance. If Democrats were serious about fiscal responsibility, they would produce a budget resolution through regular order that abide by the BCA spending caps.  

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