By Richard Lorenc
Today we joined over 20 other organizations in a letter to Congress, asking members to respect the spending restraint agreed last year in the Budget Control Act of 2011.
November 8, 2012
(Click to view a pdf version of this letter.)
Dear Member of Congress:
We the undersigned organizations, representing millions of Americans dedicated to fiscal responsibility, urge you stand firm and hold the line on the budget sequester set forth in the Budget Control Act of 2011. With the federal government facing yet another year of projected deficit spending exceeding $1 trillion, Congress must keep in place the $109 billion in sequestration spending restraint scheduled for 2013. Delaying this action will only make it harder to get our fiscal house in order, in the process weakening our economy, saddling future generations with debt, and further undermining Congress’s credibility to lead.
We understand there are concerns that the sequester will disproportionately affect the defense budget, with 50 percent of the cuts affecting security spending, which accounts for only 20 percent of the overall federal budget. However, this is a product of lawmakers’ unwillingness to consider serious entitlement reform that would confront the true drivers of our debt. Indeed, the BCA prevents practically any reform to mandatory spending, providing additional leverage for spendthrift lawmakers who want to claim the sequester’s impact on discretionary spending is too bitter a pill to swallow.
Furthermore, several of the signatories below have identified specific program savings in the defense and homeland security categories that could amply substitute for the sequester’s so-called “across-the-board” approach. Therefore, while it may be prudent to revise the actual composition of the cuts, it would be unacceptable to reduce or delay the overall amount of spending reductions. As Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) recently stated, “… the only thing that’s worse than cutting national defense is not having any scheduled cuts at all take place.”
If Congress reverses the cuts or replaces them with future empty promises, it will send a clear message to the American people: Congress is unable to make meaningful spending cuts.
Our nation’s debt has increased by approximately $1.7 trillion since the current sequester mechanism was first developed in August 2011. Permitting these cuts to occur would represent merely a modest first step toward fixing our debt crisis. Even with the Budget Control Act’s sequester and spending caps, total government spending is still expected to grow, albeit at a slightly slower rate. Rather than attempting to subvert the sequester, Congress should be proposing additional cuts to discretionary spending and considering meaningful reform to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, which pose tremendous threats to our fiscal stability.
Congress should reject any attempts to cut less than $109 billion or worse, to replace spending cuts with tax increases. The only responsible way forward for long-term prosperity is to immediately cut spending and to enact serious budgetary and entitlement reforms. This will require making the tough decisions you were elected to make.
Executive Vice President
National Taxpayers Union
Club for Growth
Americans for Tax Reform
Outreach Director and Senior Fellow
R Street Institute
Director of Policy
Americans for Prosperity
Young Americans for Liberty
Clyde Wayne Crews, Jr.
Vice President of Policy
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Thomas A. Schatz
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Vice President of Public Policy
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Cost of Government Center
Matthew J. Brouillette
President and CEO
Rio Grande Foundation
Andrew F. Quinlan
Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Americans for Limited Government
Peter J. Thomas
The Conservative Caucus
Jonathan M. Bydlak
Coalition to Reduce Spending
Tea Party WDC
Mario H. Lopez
Hispanic Leadership Fund
National Center for Public Policy Research