Memo: Republican Budgets Should Achieve Additional Conservative Gains

Mar 15, 2015

To: Interested Parties
From: Heritage Action for America
Date: March 16, 2015
Subject: Republican Budgets Should Achieve Additional Conservative Gains

In 2011, the new Republican-controlled House passed a bold budget that demonstrated the party was serious about confronting the policy challenges facing our nation. With an obstinate and obstructionist Democrat Party in control of the Senate, House Republicans used subsequent budgets to lock in and consolidate their policy gains into a coherent platform. Empowered by a historic House majority and control of the Senate, Republicans must do more than regurgitate previous policies.

Repealing Obamacare. Republicans owe their majorities to their unwavering opposition to Obamacare, a reality that must be reflected in the budget. A throwaway line that the budget "repeals Obamacare in its entirety" is not enough. The claim must be backed up by words and deeds.

First, the budget should include reconciliation directives to the relevant committees to repeal all of Obamacare. In the past, budgets have specifically telegraphed what reconciliation would be used for. The House-passed FY 2013 budget, for example, directed the House Budget Committee to "replace the sequester established by the Budget Control Act of 2011."

Second, party leaders should publicly commit to using the reconciliation process to put a repeal of Obamacare on the President's desk this year. Doing so would signal to everyone that Obamacare remains unsettled law, and its fate will be determined by the outcome of the 2016 elections.

Eliminating Budget Gimmicks. The budget cannot play games or use gimmicks to achieve balance or get around the statutory caps established by the Budget Control Act.

Reforming Entitlements. With Medicare premium support widely established and broadly supported, the budget should lay down a bold marker on additional entitlement reform.

Funding Defense. While the BCA has put significant pressure on our military, the budget must not rely on gimmicks or new spending to align military spending with strategic priorities. Instead it should break the firewall, which would allow lawmakers to prioritize spending appropriately.

Over the past several weeks, some lawmakers have expressed the need for Republicans to lower expectations. While Republicans should be under no illusions President Obama has any interest in governing, his signature is not required. What's more, they could also drive the narrative with bold reforms that paint the President and his partisan allies as obstructionists seeking to protect special interests.

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