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Public Statements

Baseline Reform Act of 2011

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. Speaker, one of the things about being a freshman in this body is walking in and trying to learn the numbers game. On the Budget Committee, there are a million different variations to the numbers, a million different options with the numbers. And it's amazing to me, in Washington, DC, when you try to say what's the number, you'll get five different numbers.

So I think the best thing that we can do is clarify the system and say, give the numbers out there. We know what inflation's going to be, but give the numbers out there so the numbers are the numbers, and we can say to the American people when we talk about controlling spending, this is what it is. We're not cutting off what was the automatic increase and trying to have two different sets of numbers and saying we really cut but we really increased. We're able to have a flat line number out there that everyone can see and that everyone can process through.

So while we're fighting to be able to manage the budget and to be able to work through the realities that are out there of inflation--and I understand fully the principle of inflation and how that fits into your buying power. But while we're fighting through those realities, we're not fighting against ourselves. We understand that the number that's been presented to us is not including some arbitrary number that's been invented that Congress did not come up with, but it's a number that we came up with, as Congress, and said this the projection and this is where we're headed.

So the best thing I think we can do is create a neutral budgeting process, and the way to do that is to have this kind of simple reform in baseline. Control the baseline spending by not having the automatic increases. Have the baseline be the baseline. Don't put something out in the future that was not passed by Congress and assume Congress is going to then follow the lead of CBO, but assume that Congress is going to pass the budget and that next year we're going to look at exactly what that's going to be.

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