Today, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) sent a letter to both chambers of Congress urging members to oppose the Budget Conference Committee’s budget agreement that increases spending above the sequestration caps when it is considered on the floor of the House and Senate. Revealed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) Tuesday, the budget deal would increase overall discretionary spending by $63 billion above sequester levels, with $45 billion of that applied to fiscal year 2014 and another $20 billion more in fiscal year 2015.
“The solution is not to increase both spending and revenue; but to trade cuts in entitlements or cuts in wasteful spending to fund essential discretionary spending within the caps in order to put the nation back on a sustainable fiscal path.”
The proposal would set a cap of $1.012 trillion on spending in FY 2014, which is $45 billion more than the sequester level of $967 billion that was set in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) and $26 billion more than the $986 billion level of spending in the stopgap funding bill that expires January 15, 2014.
While CCAGW recognizes that sequestration was not the most effective method to reduce wasteful government spending and then-record budget deficits, Congress is still violating the BCA caps, and taxpayers would be better off if the CR was extended or the $967 billion cap was enforced. Sequestration has resulted in the first decrease in the deficit in many years and has had no impact on the ability of the government to meet its core functions, nor has it had a negative impact on the economy.
Waste-cutting recommendations from public and private sector sources provide at least a thousand reasons to oppose the trillion-dollar budget deal. For example, Citizens Against Government Waste’s (CAGW) “Prime Cuts 2013,” includes 557 spending cut recommendations that would save taxpayers $580.6 billion in the first year and $1.8 trillion over five years.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued three annual reports that identify more than a thousand duplicative and overlapping programs. Additionally, according to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), $295 billion could be saved annually by eliminating the GAO-identified duplication and overlap.
“Although CCAGW appreciates the difficult political consideration involved in making this deal, we cannot support a proposal that violates the statutorily mandated budget caps and sends taxpayers a message that lawmakers are incapable of reducing spending,” said CCAGW President Tom Schatz. “The solution is not to increase both spending and revenue; but to trade cuts in entitlements or cuts in wasteful spending to fund essential discretionary spending within the caps in order to put the nation back on a sustainable fiscal path.”
The national debt is estimated to increase to $17.5 trillion by the end of this year, eventually amounting to $25.9 trillion in 2022. With the national debt currently at $17.2 trillion, every man, woman, and child in the U.S. (population 317,219,652) owes $54,331 as his or her share of the debt, or $149,944 for each taxpayer.
CCAGW is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.