“YES” on the RSC’s Back to Basics Budget

This week the House will vote on a Fiscal Year 2015 Budget offered by the Republican Study Committee (RSC) (H.Con.Res. 96). The “Back to Basics Budget” would balance in four years, reduce discretionary spending, reestablish national defense spending to support the military, repeal and replace Obamacare, reform Medicare and Medicaid, safeguard Social Security, and enact pro-growth tax reform.

Importantly, the “Back to Basics Budget” serves as a benchmark for near-term spending levels by forgoing the elevated levels set by the recent Ryan-Murray budget agreement.   Instead, it would freeze discretionary spending at $950 billion starting in FY 2015 until the federal budget is balanced.  Also toward that end, it would bring spending down to an average of 18.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and limiting average revenue to 18.1 percent of GDP.  

“NO” on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014

Today, the House will vote on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (as amended) (H.R. 3370) sponsored by Rep. Mike Grimm (R-NY)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Mike Grimm31%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard31% and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Maxine Waters18%House Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard18%. The Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012 set forth much needed reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is currently over $24 billion in debt. While the Senate-passed flood insurance bill (S. 1926) would delay certain necessary reforms, the House bill would go a step further in the wrong direction and completely repeal many of those necessary reforms.

“YES” on the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014

Today the House will consider the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014 (H.R. 3865), sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Dave Camp58%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard58%.  The bill prohibits the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from modifying the standard for determining whether an organization is operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare for purposes of section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 2986.  The new IRS regulation in question, which the IRS does not even have the authority to make,  would “seriously infringe the First Amendment rights of advocacy organizations.”

Bradly A. Smith, a law professor at Capital University and former Federal Election Commission Chairman explained:

The changes fall outside IRS expertise and authority because they are concerned with campaign finance law and have nothing to do with raising federal revenue. This is an effort to regulate campaign finance disguised as tax regulation

“NO” on the Clean Debt Limit Suspension

Tonight, the House will vote on the so-called Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act (S. 540), which would suspend the nation’s debt ceiling until March 15, 2015.  During that time, President Obama and Congress will have a blank check to spend and borrow.  This is extremely reckless given our nation’s $17.3 trillion debt.  Every American household already owes more than $140,000 on the debt.

The Heritage Foundation explains the act “renders the debt limit inoperative,” which matters “because when Congress fails to limit the debt it effectively abdicates its Constitutional power to control borrowing.”

They also note:

Approaching the debt limit is a very public and focused affair. It forces the American people and their representatives to confront the fact that the budget is unbalanced and that deficit spending adds to the already massive national debt.

It’s also an effective opportunity to shame Congress and the President for their reckless spending and borrowing, which is why congressional challengers often highlight an incumbent’s vote to increase the debt ceiling in election campaigns.

The Heritage Foundation’s Romina Boccia also explains:

The debt limit serves as an important congressional check on federal spending and borrowing. Without a debt limit, all control over borrowing decisions shifts to the Treasury secretary, who is appointed by the president. Effectively, this concentrates borrowing authority in the executive branch, and hands the president a blank check to borrow against the U.S. taxpayer.

Rather than suspending the debt limit again, Congress should “put the budget on a path to balance in order to avoid a much worse fiscal crisis in the future—before deciding how much more to borrow.”

Heritage Action opposes S. 540 and will include it as a vote on our legislative scorecard.

Related:

Heritage Action Scorecard
The Debt Ceiling Returns as National Debt Reaches $17.3 Trillion
Double-Whammy: The No-Debt-Limit-Bill Increases Spending and the Debt
Bring Back the Debt Ceiling

“YES” on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

Today, the House will vote on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7).  Sponsored by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), the bill would establish a permanent, government-wide prohibition on federal taxpayer funding of abortion and health benefits plans that include coverage of abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger.  It would also prevent federal tax dollars from being entangled in abortion coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

As Rep. Smith explains, “Under Obamacare, billions of dollars in the form of tax credits are today buying abortion-subsidizing health insurance plans in exchanges throughout the country.”