Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) today introduced legislation to limit total federal spending at 18% of gross domestic product, bringing it in line with historical revenues and paying down the national debt. The bill, which he introduced with Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA), would enforce across-the-board cuts if Congress failed to keep spending within the limit.
"We have learned that too many in Washington are unwilling or unable to get spending under control," said Kingston. "This bill takes the growth of government off auto pilot. It takes election year politics off the table by enforcing limits with or without congressional action. It gets rid of accounting gimmicks, budget tricks and empty promises to provide for a more stable and secure future for our country."
Kingston's proposal would bring total federal spending -- including entitlements -- to 18% of GDP by 2016 and maintain that level every year thereafter. That percentage would bring total spending in line with the twenty year historical average of government revenue and begin paying down the national debt.
If Congress is unable to bring spending within the limit, the Office of Management and Budget would be required to sequester, or cut, spending across-the-board to meet the prescribed spending level for that year. Kingston would have spending divided into three categories -- direct, non-security discretionary, and security-related discretionary. Cuts would be applied proportionally across the three based on the level of growth within each over the previous fiscal year.
To hold Congress to the limit, it strictly restricts emergency spending which is often a vehicle for bypassing budget rules. It provides only one exemption: interest on the national debt. To override the law, a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress would be required.
"This is our opportunity to change the trajectory of our fiscal future," Kingston said. "On one hand, we have mountains of debt piled onto our children and grandchildren. On the other, we have a path to reining in government, paying down the debt and freeing our future generations of a crushing debt."