Committee Chairman’s Unwillingness to Cut Spending Delays Budget Process and Threatens Tax Reform

Washington – The House Budget Committee postponed plans to unveil and markup the 2018 fiscal year budget resolution that would have provided a blueprint to save taxpayers $200 billion in real mandatory cuts over ten years and pave the way for comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform. At the heart of the problem is the unwillingness from the committee chairman to find reasonable savings within his jurisdiction. For example, Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) reportedly told House Budget Committee Chair Diane Black (R-Tenn.) that he couldn’t find even minimal savings from his committee. Heritage Action released the following statement from Vice President Dan Holler:

“Chairman Conaway’s apparent unwillingness to cut a paltry amount of federal spending from his committee is a slap in the face to American taxpayers and jeopardizes historic tax reform. The farm bill alone is projected to cost nearly $1 trillion over the next ten years, and work requirements for food stamps for abled-bodied adults without dependents alone would yield significant savings.”

The Heritage Foundation’s detailed federal budget for fiscal year 2018 provides a list of reforms that would reduce total spending by $10 trillion over the next ten years. On March 25, 2015, 237 House Republicans voted in favor of a budget resolution (H. CON. RES. 27) that recommended “mandatory agricultural outlays, other than food and nutrition programs, will be reduced by $23 billion relative to the currently anticipated levels from fiscal year 2016 through fiscal year 2025.” Chairman Conaway supported that resolution. The fiscal year 2017 budget proposed the same level of reductions. Holler continued:

“Republican committee chairs have long voted to cut wasteful spending in largely symbolic budget resolutions. Now that it’s a live fire exercise, it’s an affront to the American people that some are now wavering.”

On specific programs, Chairman Conaway joined 182 of his House Republican colleagues in 2013 in voting in favor of $15 billion in savings derived from placing a cap on the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.