Congressman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has introduced an amendment to H.R. 2021, the Investing in the People Act, to control runaway mandatory spending.
The amendment, titled the Spending Safeguard Amendment, will inject much needed government oversight into mandatory spending programs which operate on autopilot and have driven the increase in government spending.
This legislation creates a mechanism for the Office of Management and Budget to direct the Treasury Department to halt a mandatory program’s operations if it exceeds its spending limit, defined as 110% of the amount CBO estimates its cost to be when Congress approves it or 120% of that cost estimate for Social Security, health, poverty, or veterans’ programs.
This mechanism will create an important safeguard against mandatory spending and will force Congress to make tough decisions rather than ignoring them.
As it stands, mandatory spending comprise the bulk of growth in government spending according to the Congressional Budget Office. Currently, mandatory spending compromises 12.7 percent of GDP, roughly double the level of defense and nondefense discretionary spending which sits at 6.3 percent.
By 2028, mandatory spending will increase to 15.1 percent of GDP, while CBO projects discretionary spending will be lower for 5 percent. Over the long-term, this problem will get worse. CBO projects mandatory spending will total 17.3 percent of GDP between 2040 and 2049, meaning it will consume almost all revenue taken in by the federal government.