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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3578, Baseline Reform Act of 2012, and Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3582, Pro-Growth Budgeting Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 534, this rule before us today, brings the first of two Budget Committee reform bills to the floor. As the Speaker is very familiar, the Budget Committee has been working very hard, not just this year but last year as well, to put together an agenda to make the budget more accessible to the American people, to make budgeting in Washington, DC, look more like budgeting back home around the kitchen table. We have the first of those two reform bills coming to the floor today with the passage of this rule.

This rule is a structured rule, Mr. Speaker, that brings H.R. 3578, the Baseline Reform Act, and H.R. 3582, the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act, to the floor.

We all know it's been over a thousand days since the Senate has produced a budget. But here in the House, not only did we produce a budget last year on time, we will produce a budget this year on time, and we will produce another budget, as we did last year, that the American people can be proud of. Knowing that it's a given the American people are going to be proud of that work product, Mr. Speaker, because you and I will ensure it, the question is, will folks be able to understand it. I confess, as a freshman member on the Budget Committee, Mr. Speaker, it's not always easy to do.

The President is going to submit his budget to us in a couple of weeks. I think it was going to be next week. I think he's put it off for another week. I'm looking forward to seeing it when it finally arrives. But my recollection and expectation is going to be it's going to be more than 12 inches tall. Not because the President's doing anything wrong, but because that's the level of detail and sophistication it takes to produce a budget for the United States of America.

So what can we do to make this budget easier to understand? What can we do to make this budget more like the budgeting that goes on around the kitchen table?

The Baseline Reform Act, the first bill that this rule would bring to the floor, does this, Mr. Speaker. It eliminates the assumption that CBO makes today that every Congress is going to spend more next year than the previous Congress. Now, there are, as a function of law, Mr. Speaker, some areas of the budget that do in fact go up.

We know, for example, that 10,000 new Americans every day apply for Social Security and Medicare. 10,000 new baby boomers every day apply for Social Security and Medicare. We calculate that in the law. It exists in statute today to say let's go ahead and raise that spending level based on those new folks accessing the system.

But there's over a trillion dollars in spending, Mr. Speaker, for which there is no law that says it's going to go up next year and the year after that and the year after that. And yet, the Congressional Budget Office today, when they chart out the budget for the United States of America, assumes that that increase is going to take place.

Well, I'm tremendously proud, Mr. Speaker, that at least in my short time here I've seen just the opposite. Every single bill that this body has brought to the floor and sent to the President has reduced spending. Spending was $1.91 trillion in 2010. We reduced it to $1.50 trillion in 2011. We reduced it again to $1.43 trillion for 2012. That's the trend that my constituents want back home, Mr. Speaker, and I think the trend that America deserves.

But more importantly, we've all been involved in those conversations back home where folks say, when is a cut not really a cut? When is an increase not really an increase? Only here in Washington, Mr. Speaker, can we spend $10 last year and $12 next year and call that a budget cut. Only here. The Baseline Reform Act eliminates that.

The Pro-Growth Budgeting Act, the second bill that this rule would bring to the floor, adds a new bit of information to the Congressional Budget Office baseline. It's the same information that President Obama asked for in his stimulus bill, to say, when we spend this $800 billion, what impact is that going to have. We know it's going to be $800 billion out the door. We know we're never going to get that money back. We know that's going to be money that we have to borrow from foreign lands. But what do we get for that $800 billion?

We asked the Congressional Budget Office to score it that way and they did.

What the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act says is let's add that feature for every future bill on the tax side of the ledger.

What happens, Mr. Speaker, when we cut taxes? We know that means less revenue comes in from that one tax, but what does it mean for the economy as a whole? We see it over and over again when we have taxes at their highest. Sometimes our tax receipts are at their lowest. When we have tax rates at their lowest, sometimes our tax receipts are at their highest. The Congressional Budget Office can give us that information, and this bill makes it possible for them to do that.

So, Mr. Speaker, I'm tremendously proud and tremendously enthusiastic about not only the rule but the two underlying bills, and I look forward to that discussion not just on the rule with my friend, Mr. Hastings, but with the Budget Committee later on this afternoon.

I reserve the balance of my time.


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