The House is poised to debate another short-term funding measure tomorrow that would cut spending while keeping government funded for three weeks. There is debate raging as to whether this is prudent policy – the following are reasons Americans for Tax Reform believes a vote for the short-term Continuing Resolution is not only good policy, it is smart politics for any conservative serious about diminishing the size of government.

  • The universe of spending has improved because of short-term CRs: Currently, Congress has cut $14 billion from FY 2010 levels, netting $2 billion in cuts each week.
  • This means government spending is currently set at $51 billion lower than the expected spending levels for this year because House Republicans capitalized on the Democrat majority’s unwillingness to pass a budget in the last Congress by crafting smart, passable short-term CRs.
  • Democrats’ refusal to pass a budget last year offered House Republicans the opportunity to craft short-term CRs to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. This opportunity was neither anticipated nor expected, and the unprecedented rescissions House Republicans have made in CRs should signal to taxpayers their commitment to netting real savings.  
  • Practically, the math is identical – cutting $2 billion a week nets the same spending cuts at the end of the fiscal year as the House-passed and widely-supported H.R. 1, the Republican long-term Continuing Resolution. Short-term CRs have passed the Senate, while the long-term measure failed. Practically, conservatives should support the avenue that works to net real spending cuts. Currently, that avenue is in the form of short-term spending measures.

Bottom line: When there are spending cuts enacted, conservatives win. This is especially true in the wake of the 111th Congress, where the debate mere months ago focused on simply holding the line on spending and preventing massive increases in discretionary baselines.

Winning on the economics of big government sets the stage for the broader policy discussion for the rest of the fiscal year and beyond. Americans for Tax Reform is very supportive of the policy riders that cut spending in the House-passed H.R. 1. This, however, does not preclude support of the short-term Continuing Resolution, which continues to chip away at the mammoth big government spending problem, and starts confronting the fiscal insolvency of big government, one week at a time.