Earlier today ATR’s Center for Fiscal Accountability informed members of the U.S. House of Representatives that it will rate a vote in favor of the RSC Budget alternative which was unveiled last night. The budget alternative is far superior to the Pelosi-Obama-Reid budget which would drastically increase spending and hike taxes. From our vote alert:

While the Pelosi-Obama-Reid budget would hike federal spending to unsustainable levels hitting nearly 25 percent of GDP – well above the 40-year average of 20.7 percent – the RSC proposal would bring spending as a percentage of GDP down to 17.9 percent in the last budget window through a series of meaningful reforms, including, among other things:
  • requiring each committee to identify savings equal to one percent of total mandatory spending under its jurisdiction that are determined to be wasteful, unnecessary or lower priority;

  • assuming reductions in or the elimination of several programs that are considered lower-priority such as Amtrak, AmeriCorps, the Presidential Election Campaign Fund or the NEA; and

  • assuming a moratorium on earmarks.

On the tax side, too, the Republican Study Committee alternative proves to be far superior to the Pelosi-Obama-Reid budget and would keep taxes below their modern historical levels as a percentage of the economy.
An area of concern in the alternative budget is the following: Title IV would establish a select committee on earmark reform, and while we support this concept in general, the definition of earmarks used in the text also extends to "tax earmars", which is why we clarified in our alert:
Earmarks are spending. To claim that there is such a thing as “tax earmarks” puts tax deductions and credits on par with bridges to nowhere. That is not to say that from a policy perspective, certain tax deductions and credits may be disputable. However, once the distinction between spending programs and tax cuts is confused, people may be led to believe think it is all the same, and there is a strong danger that you may end up with a net tax increase.  Consequently, we would hope that the “joint select committee on earmark reform” would only focus on authorization and appropriation earmarks. More transparency for tax credits may be welcome, however they should not be lumped in with spending provisions.
This objection notwithstanding, the RSC budget remains a superior alternative to the Pelosi-Obama-Reid-Budget, and a vote for the House Conservative Budget Alternative will be positively reflected in CFA’s annual Congressional Ratings.

For a pdf version of the full alert click here.