Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after voting against H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, as well as the rule for this bill, both of which ultimately passed the House by a vote of 266-167:
“The greatest authority granted to the House of Representatives by the Constitution is the ‘Power of the Purse’. Yet, you would never know it by looking at this bill and by today’s actions. It is hard to imagine a worse ‘deal’ than this awful agreement that was negotiated in secret, with no input from rank-and-file members, with no committee hearings and with no votes on any amendments. This terrible deal was shoved down our throats in less than 48 hours by a lame-duck leadership team that worked with Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama to get it across the finish line. Once again, the opinions of the American people have been silenced through a broken legislative process that ignores regular order and consolidates power among a handful of ‘leaders’.
“Among its many failures, this bill suspends the debt ceiling through March 2017 and hands Washington politicians a blank check that will add more than a trillion dollars to our national debt. It does nothing to solve the current fiscal crisis facing our country, shackles future generations with more unsustainable debt, steals $150 billion from the Social Security Trust Fund and utilizes Washington math and budget gimmicks that will never materialize in an attempt to pay for $80 billion in new authorized spending. This deal busts through budget caps established by the Budget Control Act (BCA) just a few years ago. I fully and vigorously supported the BCA, and still do. The BCA is the only successful effort to reduce spending for three years in a row since World War II. But this deal abandons that one fiscal victory achieved by Republicans since we took back the House majority.
“This terrible bill epitomizes everything wrong with Congress and is another example of why I have been calling for new House leadership. We need more bold conservatives that are fed up with the status quo in Washington D.C. that will stand with me and others to stop this dysfunction. Other than one minor tweak to Obamacare, I can’t think of one single victory that conservatives got out of this deal. With Republicans in charge of the House and Senate, our leadership team should have said NO Deal.”
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 blows through the Budget Caps established under the Budget Control Act by increasing discretionary defense and nondiscretionary spending by $50 billion above the FY16 level and $30 billion above the FY 17 level. According to an analysis by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, “the spending restraint imposed by the Budget Control Act has reduced spending by $1.3 trillion compared to the levels originally proposed by the President, an amount equal to $8,980 per household. Economist Stephen Moore says that the BCA helped contribute to “the first three-year reduction in federal spending since the 1950s.”
Pay-fors: This bill spends money now and pays for it later by writing an IOU promising more than $14.047 billion in cuts by then end of 2025. It also pays for spending through pension smoothing and by budget gimmicks that move the due date for pension payments up one calendar month ($7.65 billion is stolen from people’s pensions). The deal increases the single-employer fixed premium contribution to the PBGC (essentially a new tax, $4.05 billion). The deal significantly increases Civil monetary penalties to adjust “to inflation”, permanently rescinds $1.5 billion from the Crime Victims Fund and permanently rescinds $746 million from the Department of Justice Civil Asset Forfeiture Fund. The deal also pays for the bill by imposing new audits on partnerships and unincorporated businesses ($11.2 billion from new tax compliance mandates). $3 billion in savings in the deal come from cutting crop insurance, a provision which is strongly opposed by the agriculture community. According to the Republican Study Committee (RSC), “Nearly $30 billion, or 40%, of the bill’s offsets come from new revenue, rather than from spending reductions elsewhere in the federal budget.”
Debt Ceiling: Attempts to “Restore Congressional Authority over the Debt limit” but increases the debt ceiling without including a specific amount and allows the government to keep borrowing as much as it needs to till March 2017. CBO states, “Title IX would temporarily suspend the limitation on borrowing by the Treasury through March 15, 2017. On the following day, the current debt limit of $18.113 trillion would be raised by the amount of borrowing above that level during the period in which the limitation was suspended.” The RSC estimates that after this happens America’s national debt will be approximately $19.6 trillion.
Other: The budget deal scraps a provision that automatically enrolls full-time employees into Obamacare for companies with 200 employees or more. Diverts $150 billion from the Social Security Trust Fund. Authorizes the sale of $5.05 billion of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Authorizes the sale of another $2 billion worth of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for the purposes of modernizing Strategic Petroleum Reserve facilities. Numerous Republicans and Democrats have constantly stated in the past that we shouldn’t be raiding the SPR.