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We are deeply concerned that Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) is prepared to exceed the overall spending limit set out in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). In the absence of the Senate adopting a budget for fiscal year (FY) 2013, the BCA requires the Senate Budget Committee Chairman to establish spending limit in line with the March 2012 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline.
However, Chairman Conrad set the aggregate spending limit, as measured in outlays, at $2.945 trillion, while the CBO baseline amount is $2.931 trillion. The result is a $14 billion violation of the BCA limit.
Perhaps most troubling to taxpayers is the fact that Chairman Conrad does not dispute these differences. In fact, Congressional Quarterly reported that the Chairman agrees that he allows additional spending that will increase the nation’s debt by $14 billion in FY 2013.
Some may argue an additional $14 billion in debt is small compared to the annual budget deficits that now routinely exceed $1 trillion. Yet the nation’s debt, at nearly $16 trillion, exceeds the size of the entire economy and already threatens the economic and national security. This additional spending is not only contrary to the agreement hammered out in the BCA, it is unwise and completely unnecessary. It is precisely this type of fiscally irresponsible behavior and budget gimmickry that continues to outrage taxpayers and leave Congress’s popularity hovering near single digits.
We understand the chairman’s submitted figures will soon be challenged on the Senate floor through a point of order and that Chairman Conrad himself, not the Presiding Officer, will be allowed to decide whether the point of order is permissible. Assuming the chairman rejects the point of order against his own reckless spending limits, we strongly urge you to appeal the ruling and vote to uphold the point of order as a show of support for greater spending limitations. It is time for lawmakers to stop spending beyond the nation’s means and start living up to their promises of fiscal restraint.
President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Americans for Tax Reform
President and CEO
Executive Vice President
National Taxpayers Union
Vice President, Government Affairs
Club for Growth
Taxpayers for Common Sense Action
Michael A. Needham
Heritage Action for America
R Street Institute
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Director of Policy
Americans for Prosperity
Cost of Government Center