The budget resolution scheduled for markup this week begins to tackle the unsustainable mandatory spending and rising deficits and debt that threaten future generations’ opportunity to live the American Dream. This fiscal year 2018 blueprint, Building A Better America: A Plan for Fiscal Responsibility, calls for rightsizing government; provides for economic growth through tax and regulatory reform; funds a strong national defense; and targets government-wide waste, fraud, and abuse. It lays the foundation for Congress to exercise its constitutional power of the purse – the fundamental act of governing. The budget builds on the following broad framework:
A Balanced Budget
The resolution lays out a path to balance the budget within 10 years. It slows runaway spending by $6.2 trillion over 10 years; reduces budget deficits by $6.5 trillion relative to Congressional Budget Office baseline projections; and sends debt held by the public downward as a share of the economy.
Under this plan, States and localities would reclaim their authority to tailor programs in areas such as education, transportation, welfare, and environmental stewardship. The budget funds America’s robust defense capablities. It ensures veterans receive the health care and benefits they need. The budget incorporates the House-passed “American Health Care Act”, removing Obamacare’s burdens and moving toward patient-centered, market-based health care. It envisions reforms that preserve Medicare for today’s seniors and tomorrow’s beneficiaries, while giving them more choices of health care plans to meet their needs. The budget also supports an effective Medicaid program for America’s most vulnerable. It encourages dignity through work for those receiving public assistance and strengthens the safety net for those in need.
The resolution provides a reconciliation process for achieving fundamental tax reform, which may lower rates, simplify the tax code, and spur job creation and investment in America. It contains a framework for a regulatory budget to rein in out-of-control costs imposed by Washington. It works to reduce improper government payments and prevent them in the first place. It also fosters American energy production and supports basic research in fields such as energy and health.
Making Spending Restraint Real
The budget’s reconciliation procedure also addresses the surging mandatory spending that threatens to consume 81 percent of total spending by 2040 (including interest). The procedure calls for 11 committees to reduce the 10-year deficit by a combined minimum $203 billion – a floor, not a ceiling. The choice of policies to be adopted, however, lies entirely with the authorizing committees. They have maximum flexibility in determining the policies to reach their budgetary targets.
Emily J. Goff, Senior Policy Advisor