On Thursday, the House will vote on the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) Budget offered by the Republican Study Committee (RSC) as an amendment to the committee-approved FY18 budget resolution. The RSC's Budget: Securing America's Future Economy, introduced by RSC Budget and Spending Task Force Chairman Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), would balance in 2023, reduce non-defense discretionary spending, reestablish national defense spending to support the military, break the "firewall" between defense and nondefense discretionary spending, fully repeal and replace Obamacare, repeal Dodd-Frank by implementing the Financial CHOICE Act, reform entitlement programs, and finally, enact pro-growth tax reform. If passed, the RSC's budget would give lawmakers a serious conservative blueprint for reform.
Pro-Growth Tax Reform
Republicans campaigned and promised to fix America's broken tax code. The current code has become a significant obstacle to economic growth, job creation and higher wages for American workers. The RSC budget would fulfill the Republican campaign promise by enacting tax reform that cuts taxes for families, makes American businesses competitive around the globe, ends double taxation, and simplifies the code.
Republicans owe their majorities to their unwavering opposition to Obamacare, a reality that is reflected in the RSC's budget. The budget remains committed to fully repealing the law despite recent Republican failures, and sends a signal to the American people that conservatives will continue to push for free-market, patient-centered health care reforms.
Although the Budget Control Act of 2011 has put significant pressure on our military, a conservative budget would align military spending with strategic priorities by breaking the firewall. The RSC's budget does not rely on the much-discussed OCO gimmick, but increases defense spending to a total of $668 billion in FY18, which is $119 billion above the current defense cap. Importantly, that cost is offset by lowering non-defense discretionary spending to $394 billion in FY18, which is $122 billion below the cap.
The RSC's budget maintains the Medicare premium support reforms, which are widely established and broadly supported. In addition, the budget lays down bold markers on Social Security, Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicaid. It takes a similarly aggressive approach on mandatory program spending like food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) by building on the success of the 1996 welfare reforms and enacting work requirements as outlined in the Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act (H.R. 2832/S. 1290) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act (H.R. 2996).
Other important items in the budget include: Enacting the Financial CHOICE Act, eliminating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), holding federal agencies accountable, reducing funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), separating food stamps and farm programs, ending commodity subsidy programs, reforming crop insurance, ending unconstitutional amnesty for illegal immigrants, enforcing existing immigration laws, securing our borders, delegating elementary and secondary education to states and localities modeled after the Academic Partnership Leads us to Success (A-PLUS) Act, reforming Higher Education by passing the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity (HERO) Act, eliminating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, returning transportation and infrastructure policy to the states, reorganizing the executive branch, and protecting the life of the unborn.
Taken as a whole, the RSC's "Securing America's Future Economy" demonstrates a seriousness of purpose when it comes to governing. If passed, this budget would provide a fiscally responsible path forward for our nation, limit the size and scope of our bloated federal government, and unleash economic prosperity for all Americans.