We have a spending crisis in this country, and there is only one party in Washington that is doing something about it. On the discretionary spending side, the House took up the first of our 12 annual spending bills. This bill, H.R. 5326, cuts $1.6 billion from Commerce, Justice, and Science agencies, bringing their funding below 2008 levels. The Nancy Pelosi Congress went on a huge spending spree; this is part of our continuing effort to undo the damage.
As important as our work on discretionary spending is, there is simply no path to a balanced budget without changes to the so-called "mandatory" side. Mandatory spending, which accounts for 62% of the federal budget, is Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and welfare programs such as food stamps. We could shut down the entire discretionary budget, which includes the Defense Department, and still not bring the budget into balance this year.
This week, the House took a step in the right direction by passing H.R. 5652, the Sequestration Replacement Reconciliation Act. This bill, as the name suggests, replaces the across-the-board cuts that were part of the Budget Control Act (BCA) with cuts that exceed the goals of the BCA while avoiding devastating cuts to our military. H.R. 5652 cuts spending and permanently changes wasteful government programs by:
1) Eliminating abuses in the food stamp program; this has grown to $6.2 billion per month, a 66% increase, under President Obama.
2) Requiring people to provide Social Security numbers for their children when claiming child tax credits. This is to prevent taxpayer money from flowing to illegal immigrants.
3) Reforming medical malpractice laws to prevent frivolous, abusive, lawsuits. This could save the federal government $48 billion over 10 years.
4) Increasing the amount federal employees, including Members of Congress, pay towards their retirement. Federal employee benefits should be in line with what private sector workers receive.
5) Ending the "Too Big to Fail" slush fund. Taxpayers don't need or want a permanent bailout fund to save institutions and investors from the consequences of their own bad decisions.
Whether its discretionary appropriations or mandatory spending programs, Republicans are taking on the fiscal challenge this country faces by offering serious, specific spending cuts.
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