Everything You Need to Know about the New Republican Budget
By Laurence M. Vance
It’s official. Republicans in the House and Senate have finally agreed on a new budget resolution for fiscal year 2016. There is not a lot you need to know about the new Republican budget, so in this brief article I aim to tell you everything you need to know.
First, a little review.
According to the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, the president must annually submit a budget to Congress by the first Monday in February. Because the government’s fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30, the budget submitted in February is actually for the next fiscal year that begins in October. President Obama submitted his budget on February 2. It was an exercise in futility, of course, since the Republicans control both Houses of Congress.
Within six weeks of the president’s submitting his budget request, congressional committees are required by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to submit their “views and estimates” of federal spending and revenues to the House and Senate budget committees. The budget committees hold hearings on the president’s budget and then draft and report a concurrent resolution on the budget. Action on the concurrent resolution is supposed to be completed by April 15. It is only then that appropriation bills are enacted.
The House passed (H.Con.Res.27) a budget on March 25. Two hundred and twenty-eight out of 245 Republicans voted in favor of the budget. Representatives Amash, Buck, Comstock, Crawford, Gibson, Huelskamp, Jolly, Jones, Katko, Labrador, LoBiondo, Massie, McKinley, McSally, Mulvaney, Schweikart, and Sensenbrenner voted against it, as did all House Democrats.
The Senate passed (S.Con.Res.11) a budget on March 27. Fifty-two out of 54 Republicans voted in favor of the budget. Senators Cruz and Paul voted against it, as did all Senate Democrats.
A budget conference agreement was then passed by the House on April 30 and by the Senate on May 5.
In the House 226 out of 244 Republicans voted in favor of the final budget. Representatives Amash, Crawford, Duncan (TN), Gibson, Jolly, Jones, Katko, Labrador, LoBiondo, Massie, McSally, Mulvaney, Schweikart, and Zinke voted against it, as did all Senate Democrats. Representatives Buck, Garrett, Herrera Beutler, and Wagner did not vote.
In the Senate, 51 out of 54 Republicans voted in favor of the final budget. Senators Cruz and Paul voted against it, as did all Senate Democrats. Senator Vitter did not vote.
Republicans claim that their new budget:
•Balances the Budget within 10 years without Raising Taxes
•Ensures a Strong National Defense
•Repeals Obamacare to Start Over with Patient-Centered Reforms
•Protects Social Security
•Supports a Healthier Economy and Stronger Economic Growth
•Improves Efficiency, Effectiveness & Accountability of Government
They also claim that their budget will result in “$400 billion in additional economic growth over the next 10 years” and that it will create “1.2 million additional jobs over the next 10 years.”
Here are ten things you need to know about the new Republican budget. This is everything you need to know.
The new Republican budget is higher than the proposed budget for the previous fiscal year. If the Republicans were really interested in reining in government spending and limiting the size of government (like they continually tell us), then they would at least propose a budget that was a little smaller than the one for the previous year. But, of course, Republicans are interested in doing neither.
The new Republican budget is gargantuan. Republicans are proposing that the federal government spend $3.871 trillion in fiscal year 2016. That is almost as much as President Obama’s budget plan of $3.999 trillion. Where will the federal government get the $3.871 trillion to spend? Since it has no resources of its own, the answer is clear: from American taxpayers. But why should the bloated, corrupt, inefficient, wasteful, and evil United States federal government get even a trillion dollars to spend?
The new Republican budget is not balanced. It has a built-in $400 billion deficit. Republicans are calling this a balanced budget, but that is only because they are projecting that things will be in balance in ten years. How can Republicans say they are fiscal conservatives and then turn around and propose a budget that is not balanced?
The new Republican budget is only for fiscal year 2016. All the projections for future years are utterly meaningless. The next Congress—even one controlled by Republicans—will make its own new budget without regard to anything in the current budget resolution.
The new Republican budget increases spending every year. After proposing that spending actually be slightly reduced for the next fiscal year (why not this fiscal year?), Republicans propose to increase spending every year until the United States has a budget of over $5 trillion in 2025.
The new Republican budget increases the national debt every year. The national debt is already approaching $20 trillion. Republicans propose to increase it another $2 trillion dollars over the next ten years.
The new Republican budget continues to fund the warfare state. Funding for the Department of Defense continues to be one of the largest items in the federal budget. Yet, because the majority of defense spending is used for offense and for maintaining an empire of troops and bases around the globe, it can and should be substantially reduced.
The new Republican budget continues to fund the welfare state. Republicans are actually bragging that their new budget “strengthens Medicare” and “protects Social Security.” Because Republicans are welfare statists just like Democrats, their budget will continue to fund food stamps, TANF, Pell Grants, job training programs, Medicaid, housing assistance, and farm programs.
The new Republican budget continues to fund federal programs not authorized by the Constitution. What is it in the new Republican budget that is not authorized by the Constitution? Almost everything: scientific research, space flight, the National Flood Insurance Program, the Department of Education, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the TSA, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and international humanitarian, security, and development assistance. Yet, the Republicans claim to be the party of the Constitution. They claim that they adhere to the Constitution. They are liars.
The new Republican budget doesn’t eliminate anything except funding for Obamacare. Republicans are going to tout their opposition to Obamacare for the next hundred years. This, of course, does not mean that they are opposed to massive federal involvement in the health care and health insurance industries. It just means that they prefer some Republican version of Obamacare. The new Republican budget doesn’t eliminate funding for any major department, agency, corporation, board, program, administration, foundation, bureau, authority, or commission of the federal government. None of them.
The new Republican budget is not a budget, it is a monstrosity.