Issue Profile: the Zero-Baseline Budget Act

Apr 04, 2012

Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) introduced the Zero-Baseline Budget Act (bill number) in March of 2011. The bill would amend the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 to stop the automatic baseline increases based on inflation.

Effectively, every agency in the government receives what amounts to an automatic increase due to inflation, which means spending will always increase. If we are ever to get our debt under control, this needs to stop. Earlier this year, the Baseline Reform Act passed out of the Budget Committee by a 21-12 vote. This bill is based off of Rep. Gohmert's Zero-Baseline Budget Act and upon its passage out of committee, Rep. Gohmert issued the following statement:

"Since my first term here in 2005, I have been pushing to end the automatic increases in every federal department's budget. Having filed the bill that would do that in each term of Congress I've been in, also pushing for its passage out of Committee and to the floor, it is now great to see that it has finally happened. When I was a judge without Congress even on my radar, I heard Rush Limbaugh discussing the insanity of the automatic increases annually. When I got here, it seemed like a no-brainer, but even when we had the majority in 2005-2006, I could not get them to bring it up for a vote. Not being on the committee of jurisdiction, I had no objections whatever to Congressman Woodall on the Budget Committee filing it as a new bill and pushing it through the committee with the full support of Chairman Paul Ryan.

"It is important to note this passage means that Chairman Paul Ryan is a man of his word. He promised me at the end of July he would get the Zero-Baseline Budget Bill passed out of his committee and he has. It now will move to the floor as the Speaker has assured me it will, and I have no doubt it will pass there. Then Senators will pass it to accolades or fail to pass it at their great political peril. Americans understand that they have tightened their belts and it is inexcusable if the federal government says we simply cannot tighten ours. Congressman Woodall and Chairman Ryan are to be commended as America will be the better for the tremendous savings to the American people when it finally becomes law, with this House and this Senate, or a Senate with a new Republican majority if this Senate fails to pass it after we do.

"When this does become law, Representatives and Senators can also finally advocate with for no increase in a federal department's budget without being vilified as happened in the past for 'draconian cuts.'"

Federal agencies should receive funding based on their needs, not based on inflationary increases. Instead of placing yet another unnecessary burden on taxpayers who are facing over $15 trillion in debt, federal agencies should be forced to justify their existence.