Illustrating their commitment to restrain government spending, the House Budget Committee today released the spending levels for the remainder of the 2011 Fiscal Year. Per the House Rules passed at the beginning of the 112th Congress and after Democrat leadership refused to pass a budget or any of the appropriations bills last Congress, this allows Budget Chairman Paul Ryan to instill prudent reforms for the remainder of the fiscal year.
The spending levels announced today fulfill the promise made by the House Republicans in their Pledge to America to cut domestic spending to 2008 levels. The Pledge states:
With common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops, we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone and putting us on a path to begin paying down the debt, balancing the budget, and ending the spending spree in Washington that threatens our children’s future.
The Pledge to America’s promise was to return non-security, discretionary spending to 2008 levels. This Continuing Resolution fulfills that promise.
Since the Pledge was made, discretionary spending has been kept at FY 2010 levels rather than growing as anticipated. As a result, the line was held on spending for the first five months of this fiscal year. This Continuing Resolution completes the spending cut promise made in the Pledge to America.
The Continuing Resolution released today sets total discretionary spending authority for FY 2011 at $1.05 trillion (the total for an entire year of spending at these levels), a full $74 billion below the President’s request.
Debate regarding the aggregated amount of cuts that should be included in the FY 2011 levels is currently raging on Capitol Hill. While the resolution offered by Chairman Ryan today signals a serious step forward on spending reform, it leaves security spending off the table. It should be noted that subjecting all discretionary spending to the same scrutiny could save taxpayers $80 billion by placing defense spending back at 2008 levels.
This Continuing Resolution is one of many opportunities this Congress will have to cut wasteful government spending and keeps the spending cut promise made to taxpayers in the Pledge to America.