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From "Billions to Trillions": Why This Week's House Budget Vote Is So Crucial

This past month's government-shutdown fight pales in comparison to the longer-term budget fight ahead.  

In the words of a leading congressional budget-cutter, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), "We must now move from saving billions to saving trillions."

Ryan is right.  The national debt is skyrocketing at the rate of:

• $200,000,000 ($200 million) an hour

• $30,000,000,000 ($30 billion) a week

• $120,000,000,000 ($120 billion) a month

• $1,600,000,000,000 ($1.6 trillion) a year

It’s no exaggeration to say Washington spending is totally out of control.  This is the most urgent fiscal issue of our time.  It's also a moral issue, as Washington is irresponsibly borrowing 43 cents of every dollar it spends, piling a mountain of debt on our children and grandchildren.  

We must get spending under control. 

Even while Republicans were publicly jousting with President Obama and the Democrats to avert a government shutdown, they were also quietly devising long-term budget plans to save the nation from bankruptcy and a sovereign debt crisis.  

Now those bold plans are being unveiled.  

Later this week (on or around April 15th), the House of Representatives is expected to vote on a long-term spending reduction plan (“budget resolution”) proposed by Chairman Ryan with the backing of Speaker John Boehner and the House GOP leadership.  

  • Ryan's plan will cut $90 billion in the first year, $5.8 trillion over 10 years, and balance the budget in 30 years.  

The House will also have a chance to vote on an alternative, even better budget plan offered by the 177-member Republican Study Committee (RSC), the more fiscally conservative caucus within the Republican majority.  

  • The RSC budget would save $300 billion in the first year, $9.1 trillion over 10 years, and balance the budget in 10 years.  

The Democratic minority may also offer a budget, although this is uncertain, since they failed to agree among themselves on a budget last year when they were in charge.  

  • Democrats have, alas, been AWOL so far on the long-term budget crisis.  

Although a budget resolution does not by itself produce any spending restraint—subsequent implementing legislation is needed for that to happen—this week’s vote could have a critical impact on whether Washington finally begins to get spending under control, reduce the national debt, and begin restoring the principles of limited, constitutional government.

Fiscally conservative Americans need to weigh in on this important debate.  

In order to arm citizen-patriots with the solid, fact-based information they need this week, FreedomWorks has prepared these handy documents: 

Budget Plans Report Card

Budget Plans Primer

What You Need To Do Right Now

1. Review the "report card" and primer to learn the differences between the 3 competing budget plans (Obama vs. Ryan vs. RSC).  

2. Call your House Members in Congress TODAY and tell them your opinion on the 3 competing plans.  Here's some suggested language:  

While President Obama’s budget plan is totally unacceptable, and Paul Ryan’s is a step in the right direction, we need to chart an even bolder course and adopt a budget which will:

  • Balance within 10 years. 
  • Eliminate unnecessary and unconstitutional departments. 
  • Reduce federal government spending to at most 18% of GDP. 
  • Include Secretary Gates’s proposed $145 billion in Defense cuts. 
  • Cut non-defense government spending much faster and deeper than does Ryan’s plan. 

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: "No Debt Ceiling Hike Unless You Also 'Cut, Cap & Balance" Federal Spending!"

Dean Clancy is FreedomWorks' Legislative Counsel and Vice President, Health Care Policy.

Budget Primer graphic by FreedomWorks intern Patrick Hedger.