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Mr. SPRATT. Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the budget enforcement resolution for fiscal year 2011, contained in this rule. This resolution sets an overall limit of $1.121 trillion on discretionary spending in next year's appropriations bills. This limit is well below the comparable request made by the President for FY 2011 and $3 billion below the resolution approved by the Senate Budget Committee.
One of the chief functions of a budget resolution is to cap the level of discretionary spending for the forthcoming fiscal year. This resolution serves that purpose, and permits the Appropriations Committee to move forward with appropriation bills for fiscal year 2011.
The ``Pay-As-You-Go'' rule, PAYGO, passed previously, bars increases in mandatory spending and decreases in revenues, unless offset, so that they do not add to the budget deficit. The current PAYGO system requires that the authorizing committees meet the deficit-neutrality test for four time periods: two for the House PAYGO rule and two for statutory PAYGO. This resolution would align these time windows so that the requirements for complying with House PAYGO and statutory PAYGO would be the same, and makes other synchronizing changes--thus facilitating the consideration of deficit-neutral bills.
While this resolution does not project the budget out over five years, it does look to the future by assuring that the House will have an opportunity to vote this year on longer-term budget proposals made by the President's Fiscal Commission and approved by the Senate. This resolution also sets an out-year goal for the budget: a budget in primary balance (excluding net interest costs) in 2015.
The budget enforcement resolution reinforces the Commission's goal of lowering the deficit to sustainable levels, and as mentioned, reaffirms the House
leadership's commitment to bring to a vote any of the Commission's recommendations passed by the Senate.
In addition, this resolution--
instructs House committee chairs to submit recommendations for eliminating wasteful spending in their committee jurisdiction; and
accommodates additional program integrity funds of $538 million in 2010 to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal budget.
When all of these elements are brought together, they form a complete substitute, the functional equivalent of a budget resolution.
The budget enforcement resolution limits discretionary spending, while the PAYGO rules limit mandatory spending and revenue reductions. These are disciplines for the short run, while the Fiscal Commission works out recommendations for the longer run.
The budget enforcement resolution is another of many steps Democrats in the 111th Congress have taken to enforce fiscal responsibility, such as enacting statutory PAYGO; reforming defense acquisition; and insisting, successfully, that health care reform not add to the deficit.
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