Conservative Priorities for the Annual Congressional Budget

Background: In 2011, Congress and President Obama agreed to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for cuts to the federal spending totaling $917 billion over the next 10 years. The agreement dubbed the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), has been a key tool to limit discretionary spending in the midst of exploding deficits and runaway federal spending. Unfortunately, ever since there has been a bipartisan push to increase the BCA caps to allow higher spending.

In late 2015, as part of then-Speaker John Boehner’s efforts to “clean out the barn,” Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) breaking the spending caps established under the BCA by $50 billion in fiscal year 2016 and $30 billion in fiscal year 2017.

The Purpose of a Budget: The annual budget process is Congress’ chance to set its own vision for the nation’s finances — a conservative vision reduces the size and scope of the federal government. It is an opportunity to set a new course and not continue to ratify the excessive spending of the past. Passing a budget for its own sake, regardless of spending levels, is neither conservative nor fair to the people who elected them to office. Conservatives should not simply rubber stamp a bad budget.

Conservative Priorities: At the end of last year, 167 Republican members voted against the BBA spending levels and 95 voted against the trillion dollar “omnibus” bill. Those same members are now being asked again to keep the higher spending levels in place for fiscal year 2017, even with a new Speaker. Conservatives should insist on the following priorities:

  • Keep top-line discretionary spending levels previously established under the BCA of 2011.
  • Balance within ten years without accounting gimmicks we have seen used in the past.
  • Eliminate Obamacare revenues from being counted towards balancing the budget, as the law should and must fully be repealed under a Republican President in 2017.
  • Explicitly reaffirm support for premium support in Medicare and other policy reforms.

Claim and Response

Claim: Returning to “regular order” appropriations bills should be our focus. This cannot occur without a budget.

Response: This is not true. Congress can and has considered appropriations bills in the past without an agreement between the House and Senate. Each chamber could “deem” its own budget.

Claim: Passing a budget at higher spending levels will allow conservatives to devote a larger focus to passing significant policy reforms.

Response: While many policy proposals would likely be included in any budget, Congress does not need a bad (or any) budget agreement to consider stand-alone policy reforms such as tax reform or welfare reform.

Claim: The budget does not rely on the revenues from Obamacare. It merely assumes the same amount of revenue under current laws and that any changes to tax policy will be “revenue neutral.”

Response: While Obamacare may be the law of the land, Republicans in Congress and those running for the White House have repeatedly promised to repeal it in 2017. With this in mind, Republican budgets in the past have correctly scrapped Obamacare spending, but mistakenly kept Obamacare’s $1 trillion dollars of revenue in order to balance the budget. Republicans get away with this gimmick by claiming future changes to our tax policy will be “revenue neutral” without explaining how that will happen. In other words, they are arguing if Congress votes to cut Obamacare taxes in repeal then they would have to raise revenue somewhere else. In this year’s budget, conservatives must insist on a balanced budget that truly balances, without using Obamacare gimmicks.

Please Share Your Thoughts

46 thoughts on “Conservative Priorities for the Annual Congressional Budget

  1. cobrapub here Hello is anybody there the budget is only the tip of your problem!The budget can be liquadated and Rep.Ryan tried to shed light on it but Obama shut him down,It’s cook book simple “M1 & M2” are the 19 trillion dollar problem,but the “M3” is the solution it has over 22 trillion socked away!Problem however the “Marshal Plan” and politics as usual,UNTIL THIS IS ADDRESSED GOOD LUCK!I will be happy to detail this asked,this is the source of all your political problems!


    • Too bad the majority don’t care to vote for these common sense actions because this is what Ted Cruz was fighting for! What happened to actual conservatism? Why do so many hate it?

    • WELL- Marsha we voted for an Muslim and they do not like the American Constitution. don’t vote Cuban next time. vote for a business man

  3. Where were all of you when Reagan and Bush were Doubling and Tripling the Federal Debt with run away budgets. Bush cut taxes while starting two wars, but he always left military spending out of his budget. That was funded “off budget” by special appropriatioins – but still inbalooned the nation debt.

  4. Yes, Please repeal Obama care. It’s a program most people do NOT want and they Can’t afford, yet they are penalized if they don’t buy it. How crazy is that??? The Fed government has No Right to tell The People what to do about our personal health care choices. This includes forcing vaccines full of poisons (this is well documented) on our children!

  5. We could get medical spending under control if we promoted real health. Organic, fresh food, clean water, clean air and some exercise. Health and then health care costs will go down and disabilities will decrease.

    • Janet- I almost died on organic spinach, but alcohol, cigarettes, drug would really help, but people gust don’t get it. read the bible a little would help.

  6. Any comprehensive approach to excessive spending and debt reduction must address significant reductions in the size and scope of the federal government. Attacking the nine-headed government beast takes courage and commitment. Heritage should take a lead role in publishing the numbers and exposing the cost of both the elected and unelected bureaucracy that is destroying our country. It is simply not enough to jawbone cutting spending without significantly reducing the legions of bureaucratic regulators and spenders.

  7. Unfortunately, all the “entitled” idiots living off the taxPAYers will keep voting for their “freebies ( Obamaphones, etc>) and the District of Corruption will keep pushing us over the cliff. Just look at hw well Bernie the Commie is doing in the polls, because he promises “free’ stuff to those
    who are too damn lazy to WORK for a living, and those of us who actually PAY taxes will have to foot the bill. Welcome to Amerika, land of the freebie.

    • Doug – your spelling is as bad as mine, but I still work 40 hr. per week at 72 and paid into social security for 62 years. I guess we love are country. What else could it be?

  8. We must stop Obama in his tracks. It has been his intention, from the start to destroy the Constitution and alter the United States.. He is a trader and should be treated as such. His agenda must be stopped some how.before it is too late.

  9. we all need a full page on this hydrogenated bull feces that is shoveled at the voters by the beast Obama who explained in great detail how he was going to destroy our great republic the real capital to find is the hidden bureaus that are not elected and who write the laws details after being passed with great sounding names that imply prosperity, but are death incarnate. Heritage needs to get into thosde many fraud filled make work projects and stop the buget on just on major one to show that the GIOP and the conservatives are for real this time out. What to do with the employees, no longer needed but cannot be terminated? Their checks get issued in Puerto Rico. Stop the madness. Close down those useless agencies.

    • Healthy habits would help us but we dont wont the government mandating our diet anymore than we want them controlling our healthcare.

    • Companies get downsized all the time, there is no reason the Federal Gov’t could not down size. If that money was set free it would go back into the free enterprise economy.

  10. I fully agree with Heritage that each of the above claims for a responsible conservative budget must be acted on by the members of Congress that “We The People” voted into office. We are fed up with weak kneed spineless actions by the GOP Establishment. It’s time to earn the tax payers money that we are paying to be represented!

  11. With the “Contract with America” in the late nineties, Newt Gingrich and Scot Faulkner – not to mention a number of other House leaders – had succeeded in reducing the budget considerably. We need to take the same path again to regain control over the current unacceptable deficit and cut a number of useless government expenses. We fully support Heritage conservative budget proposal. The survival of America is at stake !

  12. What happened in the past can’t be changed. Who did what no longer matters. It is what we do now that matters. Stop the blame game, learn from our mistakes and move forward with intelligent well thought out plans to fix the problems, what ever they be.

  13. Congress needs to quit disagreeing with basically everything that is of real importance to us. They need to start paying more attention to what we are saying needs to be done, and then start acting together as one team, not as individuals using their own opinions as their deciding factors. They need to become more aware of the fact that they represent us, not themselves. The wrong decisions have been made regarding too many important issues too often simply because they are not listening to us.

  14. Someone needs to go over… line by line… every single item in the budget. Then with a big red pen, all non-vital items need to be crossed out. Only fund items necessary and those covered by the Constitution. If it’s not in the Constitution, it goes back to the states.

  15. Back to Basics. Every citizen should memorize the “Enumerated Powers” and know instantly if spending is justified at the federal level. All existing illegal programs and agencies should be abolished as soon as possible. Let the free market go and ease out of dependency. Stop pussyfooting around, that means you too Heritage.

  16. Total elimination of a couple or three departments, like the Department of Energy, would be a significant step toward a balanced budget.

  17. The priority should be to rein in the size and scope of the government. Get them out of the things every Supreme Court prior to FDR called unconstitutional. The republicans are nibling along the edges, they need to get out the knife and make some real cuts. They should start by getting rid of departments like education and commerce.

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