Federal Budget

The Hill: A conservative budget is aspirational

Stacy French - February 12th, 2016


A conservative budget is aspirational

By David McIntosh and Michael Needham

The elevation of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to Speaker offered hope that Republicans in Congress will be able to overcome internecine warfare, put forward an aspirational agenda and once again refocus on reducing government spending. Though they’ve held the majority for five years, congressional Republicans have rarely shown the willingness to wage battle for optimistic conservative policies. And since 2011, budget battles have largely been dominated by those with the desire to increase federal spending.

Before he retired, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) crafted a debt ceiling deal that included the framework for billions in increased federal spending. Boehner said he was trying to “clean the barn” before retiring, but what he left behind was a pile of manure.

Ryan promised that things would change: “This is not the way to do the people’s business. And under new management we are not going to do the people’s business this way.”


Congressional conservatives are eager to help Ryan make good on that promise. He has a chance to unite the party by turning things around. House Republicans are working on their next budget, and they should start by immediately lopping off the $30 billion of extra spending for the 2017 budget year built into it by the Boehner debt ceiling deal. Yes, that may well require taking it all out of domestic discretionary spending and leaving defense alone. The linkage between the two was bad policy to begin with, designed to enhance legislative leverage for President Obama’s liberal allies in the Congress.

Just because last fall’s debt deal also allowed lawmakers to break Congress’ own spending caps shouldn’t mean House Republicans need to craft their budget – a conservative Republican budget – in line with that widely repudiated deal.

In fact, it’s a deal that was passed in both chambers with unanimous Democrat support. In the House, only 79 Republicans voted for the extra spending, but it got by with 187 Democrats. In the Senate, all 44 Democrats voted with just 18 Republicans to get it through. This was not a Republican deal and few, if any, Republicans will publicly defend the deal.

As for the $30 billion, it’s just a fraction of one percent of the near-$4 trillion the federal government spends each year, but Democrats are already working to secure the next spending increase.  A conservative budget should not embrace Democrat-initiated spending increases, rather it should propose bold reductions in federal spending and put forward aspirational policy prescriptions that unite the 218 most conservative House Republicans.

This budget will help define the direction of Speaker Ryan’s leadership. It will either be more of the same, or a clear effort to restore the limited government principles for which Republicans have stood.

For Republicans to succeed, they can’t keep repeating the failures of the past. Ryan correctly wants to cast a new vision for conservatives. Bold, pro-growth tax reform and much-needed welfare reform would be important accomplishments. But, casting a conservative budget vision is also crucial. After all, if you can’t cut $30 billion – that shouldn’t have been added to the budget in the first place – then why would the American people believe that promises to reform government and tackle federal spending in 2017 are anything more than lip service?

McIntosh is president of the Club for Growth and Needham is CEO of Heritage Action for America.

See more on The Hill websitehttp://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/269117-a-conservative-budget-is-aspirational

In The News… 2.10.16

Stacy French - February 10th, 2016
  • Daily Signal, What Obama got wrong in his budget (it’s a long list)
  • Forbes, Why so many historians agree with Cruz on the gold standard

  • McCarter calls out Shimkus for not being conservative enough, WSIL
  • Ron Johnson on Obama’s $4.1 trillion budget, We Are Green Bay

What you need to know about the Omnibus bill (2015)

Andrew Roth - December 15th, 2015

In October, Congress agreed to suspend the debt limit by more than a trillion dollars and increase federal spending by $80 billion over the next two years, smashing the spending caps set in 2011 by the Budget Control Act. But that was just the beginning. What Congress did in October was to draw a blueprint for the impending omnibus spending bill, which is currently being finalized in Congress.

The omnibus bill, much like the one passed in 2013, will be a massive $1.1 trillion piece of legislation that will be like a Christmas tree, filled with gifts to both parties. An Omnibus puts all of the federal government’s discretionary spending for the rest of the fiscal year into an all-or-nothing package. It will likely be similar to the omnibus bill passed a year ago; that one was a grotesque 1,600-page piece of legislation.

It’s not hard to see why Congress would have trouble passing such a monstrosity. Fiscal conservatives are wary of it for obvious reasons: increased debt, federal waste, etc.  That’s why the process for omnibus bills usually involves appeasement to both sides of the aisle, hoping to make just enough lawmakers pleased to get to 218 votes in the House.  As a part of this process, lawmakers attach a mishmash of so-called policy riders, with the theory that reluctant Members could be swayed to vote for the whole package.

Another problem with the process is that Congress once again waits until the last minute to get anything done. This gives bargaining power to Democrats in Congress, who threaten a government shutdown that the media will blame on Republicans. It also means resorting to another 1,000+ page bill in the place of what should be a more deliberate and detailed appropriations process.

Club for Growth, Heritage Action Oppose Debt and Budget Deal

Doug Sachtleben - October 27th, 2015

Washington – Late Monday night, the House Rules Committee released text of a massive deal that would  increase the debt ceiling by at least $1.5 trillion and increase spending by at least $80 billion over the next two years in exchange for promises of spending reductions in the last few years of the ten-year budget window. The zombie budget deal will also include a number of other provisions of concern. Club for Growth President David McIntosh and Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham issued a joint statement:


“This budget and debt deal is being brokered by a lame duck speaker and a lame duck president.  It represents the very worst of Washington – a last minute deal that increases spending and debt under the auspices of fiscal responsibility. If this deal moves forward, it will undermine efforts to unite the party by those promising to advance serious policy reforms.


“The House should work to empower a new speaker to preserve the spending caps and fight for serious reforms contained in the budget.  Heritage Action and the Club for Growth call on Chairman Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise to stop this zombie budget deal.”


The Club for Growth is the nation’s leading group promoting economic freedom through legislative involvement, issue advocacy, research, and education.

Coalition Urges Congress to Keep BCA Spending limits in Place – Club for Growth signs on!

Andrew Roth - September 16th, 2015

September 16, 2015

Dear Member of Congress:

On behalf of our organizations and the millions of members we represent,
we urge you to ensure that any legislation providing discretionary funding
for Fiscal Year 2016 adhere to the discretionary spending levels set forth
by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA).

Congress passed the BCA with bipartisan support and a promise to cap
overall discretionary spending every year for the following decade. Even
with these modest spending limits, discretionary spending will still
increase in 2016 and every year thereafter.

Since its implementation, the BCA has been a rare victory for fiscal
responsibility in Washington and has helped to control the growth of
government spending and reduce deficits. Sadly, though not surprisingly,
some in Washington want to abandon the BCA caps in order to spend
more taxpayer money and add to the growing debt burden for current and
future generations.

Facing an $18 trillion national debt, abandoning these modest spending
limits by directly breaking the BCA caps or using budget gimmicks to get
around them would be fiscally irresponsible and send a dangerous
message to the American people. Hard-working Americans deserve to
have their policymakers live up to their promises on spending. Under the
BCA, total discretionary budget authority in FY 2016 is capped at $1.016
trillion. Any discretionary spending legislation exceeding that level would
break the promise made to the American taxpayers.


Marc Short, President
Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce

Phil Kerpen, President
American Commitment

Coley Jackson, President
Americans for Competitive Enterprise

Rick Manning, President
Americans for Limited Government

Brent Gardner, Vice President of Government Affairs
Americans for Prosperity

Grover Norquist, President
Americans for Tax Reform

Norm Singleton, Senior Vice President
Campaign for Liberty

Andrew F. Quinlan, President
Center for Freedom & Prosperity

Tom Schatz, President
Citizens Against Government Waste

David McIntosh, President
Club for Growth

Jonathan Bydlak, President
Coalition to Reduce Spending

Lawson Bader, Executive Director
Competitive Enterprise Institute

Pete Hegseth, CEO
Concerned Veterans for America

Penny Nance, President and CEO
Concerned Woman for America

Adam Brandon, President and CEO

Andrew Clark, President
Generation Opportunity

Mario H. Lopez, President
Hispanic Leadership Fund

Heather R. Higgins, President and CEO
Independent Women’s Voice

Carrie Lukas, Managing Director
Independent Women’s Forum

Daniel Garza, Executive Director
The Libre Initiative

Brandon Arnold, Executive Vice President
National Taxpayer Union

Andrew Moylan, Executive Director
R Street Institute

Steve Ellis, Vice President
Taxpayers for Common Sense

Paul J. Gessing, President
Rio Grande Foundation