Conservative Alternate to Obama Budget Unveiled

Yesterday, House Republicans released their alternative to the Obama budget. As reported here, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), ranking member of the House Budget Committee, released a detailed budget plan that would slow government spending and reduce taxes.

But some conservatives were concerned that it didn’t go far enough because it didn’t balance the budget within the ten years of its plan.

Earlier today, the House Republican Steering Committee unveiled its own alternative which moves decisively to stop all the bailouts, repeals the phony Obama “stimulus” legislation and actually balances the Federal budget by 2019.

“The American people are tightening their belts and it’s time for government to do the same,” said RSC Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) in a conversation with me a few moments ago. He added, “We have a budget that will balance the budget in an appropriate period of time, save money for the American people, save jobs for the American people and put us on a path to recovery.”

The RSC bill was sent to the House Rules Committee yesterday and will be brought up on the floor today.

Conservatives must act immediately to support the RSC alternative in addition to the Ryan budget, either of which is an enormous improvement over the Obama budget.

Details of the RSC proposal include many of the features that were found in the RSC’s alternative to the Obama faux-stimulus plan in March. (You can read the outline of the bill here.)

According to the RSC website, the plan:

  • Improves the budget outlook in every single year
  • Balances the budget by FY 2019
  • Cuts the national debt by more than $6 trillion compared to the President’s budget
  • Provides an extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, the AMT “patch,” and a two-year suspension of the capital gains tax — with reconciliation instructions
  • Makes NO changes to Social Security
  • Allows Medicare spending to increase at the rate of average, projected economic growth (4.2%) — similar to a proposal that was included in the 1995 Contract with America budget
  • Allows Medicaid spending to increase at the rate of average, projected inflation (1.1%) — a similar proposal was included in the 1995 Contract with America budget
  • Requires each congressional committee to find savings equal to one percent of total mandatory spending under its jurisdiction from activities that are determined to be wasteful, unnecessary, or lower-priority.
  • Provides reconciliation instructions for six committees (Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Agriculture, Government Reform and Oversight, Natural Resources, and Education and Labor) to achieve total mandatory savings equal to $482 billion. (Under reconciliation, the instructed committees are required to produce legislation which will accomplish the savings, and that legislation is given privileged treatment in the House and Senate.)
  • Assumes repeal of most of the cost of the “stimulus” and the extra spending in the FY 2009 omnibus
  • Provides full defense funding, equal to the President’s request (plus money for overseas operations)
  • Assumes NO cuts to veterans spending
  • Makes real reductions to non-defense discretionary spending: a “zero-growth” baseline for non-defense spending, PLUS a one percent annual reduction to non-defense spending, plus additional savings from lower-priority programs
  • Creates “Family Budget Protection Accounts” that allow Congress to target spending during the appropriations process and direct it to deficit reduction
  • Provides a definition for emergency spending in the Budget Resolution that will be enforceable via a point of order
  • Assumes savings from an earmark moratorium and includes the Kingston/Wolf/Wamp Earmark Reform Commission

The RSC bill is an improvement over the Paul Ryan budget alternative, but conservatives realize that either is an enormous improvement over the Obama budget. Given the fast pace of House proceedings, conservatives should vote for both.