To: Interested Parties
From: Heritage Action for America
Date: December 05, 2017
Subject: Fiscal Sanity in the Year End Budget Deal (PDF)
Government funding for defense and domestic agencies will expire after Friday, December 8. Congress is expected to vote on a temporary two spending bill – a continuing resolution, or CR – to further negotiations over an omnibus spending bill that funds the remainder of the fiscal year.
Conservatives are rightly concerned that a funding deadline the Friday before a major holiday is disadvantageous to good policy making. It would empower some lawmakers that are seeking to exploit the last minute nature of a government “shutdown” while Americans are spending time with their families. Those lawmakers are seeking a budget deal that defies fiscal sanity – raising out-of-control spending without any enforceable fiscal restraints – and an untold number of big-government policy add-ons ranging from Obamacare bailouts to amnesty.
A Conservative Budget Deal
This week, the House will consider H.R. 5055 the FY 2017 Energy & Water Appropriations bill. This legislation provides funding for projects under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The bill spends a total of $37.4 billion, which is $259 million above FY16 enacted levels and $168 million above the President’s request. Furthermore, it aligns with the spending caps enacted as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) last fall.
Each individual appropriations measure should be evaluated on the following three criteria: 1) level of spending; 2) funding of bad programs; and 3) exclusion of conservative policy riders. On the first two counts the House’s version of the FY17 Energy & Water Appropriations bill certainly falls short. On the third, the bill includes some of the key riders conservatives demand. That said, few are likely to become law — as last year’s House-passed E&W demonstrated when important riders were ultimately left out of the December omnibus — while the elevated spending levels appear on track. The Senate-passed E&W bill, with its lack of important riders, defines the upper chamber’s position.
Today the House will vote on S. 1557, which would reauthorize the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program for five years. The bill passed the Senate under unanimous consent on November 12th, and it is coming to the House floor under suspension of the rules – an expedited process generally reserved for noncontroversial measures.
But should reauthorizing this program be considered noncontroversial?
In February, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) 100% introduced the Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act (S. 2015). This bill would “address the deep problems in the federal government’s welfare programs that make it more difficult for low-income Americans to work their way into the middle class and stay there.”
Unlike President Obama and the liberals in Congress who think that raising the minimum wage is the only way to address poverty, this bill actually takes aim at helping America’s low-income individuals. By implementing new work requirements for the food stamp program and capping welfare spending, S. 2015 works towards increasing self-sufficiency and reducing government dependence.
Today, President Obama released his fiscal year 2015 budget, which increases spending by $791 billion over 10 years, according to the Senate and House Budget Committee Republican analysis. It would add $8.3 trillion to the debt over 10 years. It would never balance. Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham responded with a statement:
President Obama’s budget will no doubt be greeted with cheers from the entrenched special interests that thrive off an ever growing government, but it will do nothing for Americans struggling in this economy. The American people deserve bold policies that restore economic vitality, renew the American Dream, and equip people to achieve happiness and prosperity.