Coalition Letter: Don’t Bust the Spending Caps

On Monday, FreedomWorks sent a coalition letter to Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) urging them not to agree to deal that would bust the discretionary spending caps. Signers to the letter include Adam Brandon of FreedomWorks, Jonathan Bydlak of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union, and David McIntosh of the Club for Growth. The text of the letter is below and a PDF of the letter and the signers can be found here.

Dear Leader McConnell and Leader McCarthy,

We, the undersigned organizations, representing millions of Americans nationwide, urge you not to agree to any legislation or budget resolution that would breach the limits set in the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA), either for FY 2020 or for 2021.

In February 2018, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act, H.R. 1892, which broke the spending caps by $296 billion over two fiscal years (2018 and 2019). This deal was the fourth time Congress ignored the spending caps established by the BCA. President Trump has rightly called this level of spending “crazy.”

The BCA was a significant fiscal policy victory that will pay dividends for years. Unfortunately, many Republicans have taken the politically expedient track of undermining the BCA whenever they have the opportunity. This horrible habit of abandoning fiscally conservative principles has clear consequences, in the short term and for future generations.

Recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports show historically high deficits that are largely driven by historically high spending. The National Debt has crossed $22 trillion, major entitlement programs languish at the edge of insolvency, and discretionary spending alone has more than doubled over a generation. The American people are watching how you respond, and poll after poll shows that your voters expect you to take serious action.

In the long term, the fiscal situation is bleak. According to the CBO, debt held by the public will skyrocket to 92.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by FY 2029. As entitlement programs continue to consume a larger share of the budget, they will drive up the debt even higher, and strip away any freedom to make deliberate choices on the discretionary side. This is an entirely predictable crisis that can be solved only through meaningful spending reform across government. For Congress now to undermine minor discretionary reform is simply inexcusable.

We know where House Democrats are on this issue. They have already taken the radical step of deeming and now are appropriating to extraordinarily high numbers. But even so, shortly before the April recess, they pulled the so-called “Investing for the People Act,” H.R. 2021, from consideration on the floor because of internal strife over desires to further increase spending.

For perspective, though, H.R. 2021 itself would have raised spending caps by $360.8 billion over the next two fiscal years (FY 2020 and FY 2021). Yet, left-wing progressives wanted more. Now is the time for Republicans to chart a better way, not emulate their Democratic colleagues in attempting to roll back spending limits.

Our organizations represent a cross-section of policy priorities but are united behind this goal of keeping the limits Congress set in the Budget Control Act. Your legacy need not be one of insolvency and fiscal strain, and we urge you to take the responsible path.