Yesterday, the Club for Growth released a statement saying that the Ryan budget was “on balance, a disappointment to fiscal conservatives.” We applauded the strong pro-growth reforms in the bill, but the reasons for our opposition were twofold:
First, the budget doesn’t balance within 10 years, or for that matter, even 20 years. Our country is currently enduring unsustainable trillion-dollar deficits. We cannot wait until 2040 — the year the Ryan budget balances (page 84) — in order to arrest our ever-growing national debt.
Second, we are opposed to how the budget dismantles the annual sequestration spending cuts enacted into law by last year’s Budget Control Act (also known as the debt-limit deal). As you may recall, the debt deal established annual discretionary spending caps for the next ten years. But the debt deal also required additional cuts (both discretionary and mandatory) because the supercommittee failed. Therefore, for the upcoming year, the real number that needs to be achieved, beyond the spending cap, is $110 billion in cuts in total spending authority. But Ryan’s budget achieves less than that: $19 billion in discretionary cuts and $53 billion in cuts to mandatory authority, of which only $18 billion would be included in budget reconciliation, a fast-track process requiring committees to actually pass implementing legislation.
House leaders know that they are $39 billion short — and thus, are breaking the terms of the BCA — but they overcompensate for this by promising deeper spending cuts in the out years.
In other words, they are kicking the can down the road . . . again. Congress made a solemn promise last year that they would abide by the spending restraints in the Budget Control Act. But already, House Republican leaders are breaking that promise. This is now more than a fiscal problem. It’s a credibility issue. Like we said in our original press release, “It is hard to have confidence that our long-term fiscal challenges will be met responsibly when the same Congress that passed the Budget Control Act wants to ignore it less than one year later.”
By breaking the sequester, House Republicans aren’t just spending an extra $39 billion — they are undoing the entire $1.2 trillion sequestration part of the deal. We know Democrats will be more than happy to go along . . . and that will be the worst possible result.
Republicans need to uphold the promise they made last year and go even further. As a country, we can no longer afford to kick the can. We must act, and we must act now.
— Chris Chocola, a former Indiana congressman, is president of the Club for Growth.