The conservative House Republican Study Committee today will unveil a rescission bill that will save $2.5 trillion over 10 years
. It’s a bold proposal that returns federal spending to pre-Obama levels, eliminates remaining stimulus money and ends more than 100 specific programs.
Conservatives want their proposal to set the stage for upcoming spending fights over the 2011 continuing resolution, debt ceiling and fiscal 2012 budget. It’s as much a signal to Republican leadership as it is to President Obama that conservatives are committed to courageous ideas.
The proposal comes amid new fears among conservatives that GOP leaders are hedging on their "Pledge to America
" campaign promise to cut $100 billion in federal spending by returning to fiscal 2008 levels.
Because the 2011 continuing resolution expires in March -- five months into the current fiscal year -- there is concern Republicans might reduce the $100 billion figure
by prorating it.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, is circulating a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to ensure the GOP keeps its $100 billion promise.
“We believe the first step in restoring the trust of the American people and rebuilding the American economy is, simply, to do what we said we would do
during the campaign,” Jordan wrote in the letter. “Our first opportunity to do so will be upon us shortly.”
With the 2011 continuing resolution expiring March 4 and the debt ceiling debate not far behind, conservatives sense a golden opportunity to make major cuts to the the non-defense portion of the discretionary budget.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) joined Jordan and Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) on a conference call last night to unveil the bill. They stressed the importance of putting forward a strong proposal early.
“Every Republican is committed to cutting spending,” Jordan said. “The question is to what degree.”
DeMint vowed to “make it an issue” in the Senate, where even some in his own party opposed an earmark moratorium
-- a mere fraction of the spending reductions in the RSC proposal.
The rescission bill, known as the Spending Reduction Act, would freeze discretionary spending through 2021 at 2006 levels for a savings of $2.29 trillion over 10 years. It eliminates unspent stimulus funding -- approximately $45 billion -- and ends federal control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for a savings of $30 billion. It also repeals $16.1 billion worth of Medicaid money.
The RSC also names specific programs that it would put on the chopping block. More than 100 would be cut -- from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Endowment for the Arts to beach replenishment and an Obamacare administrative fund.
Even with $2.5 trillion in cuts, the proposal won’t balance the budget. Jordan said forthcoming RSC measure would address that goal -- similar to one offered last year that brought the budget into balance within 10 years
The RSC proposal comes just days before President Obama’s annual address to Congress. According to the New York Times Magazine
, “Obama plans to use the State of the Union to present himself as a fiscal conservative.” For anyone to take that claim seriously, Obama's proposals should be measured against the Spending Reduction Act.