We, the undersigned organizations, representing millions of Americans dedicated to fiscal responsibility, urge you to strictly abide by the discretionary budget caps originally established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) and subsequently modified by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 or “Ryan-Murray,” as it is commonly known. In particular, our organizations and members are concerned about efforts to circumvent these spending restraints through the use of budgetary gimmicks.
Many of us were disappointed by, and opposed to last year’s Ryan-Murray agreement that allowed for an additional $63 billion in discretionary spending for fiscal years (FY) 2014 and 2015—well over the amounts initially provided for by the BCA. Despite our concerns, some lawmakers supported the deal because its near-term spending increases were intended to be offset by longer-term deficit-reducing measures. Nevertheless, if Congress is to have any credibility on fiscal restraint, it should not further alter the caps and allow spending to exceed the already-revised discretionary figure of $1.014 trillion for FY015. Maintaining this level appears to be in jeopardy, which is cause for serious concern.
In particular, we urge Members to be vigilant about the potential misuse of the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. These funds should be used exclusively for their intended purpose—not as a backdoor means to increase resources for the base defense budget or for other, unrelated spending items. As military operations in Afghanistan wind down, so too should OCO, as this off-budget account poses a threat to fiscal responsibility.
Additionally, we are concerned about budgetary gimmicks often called “changes in mandatory programs” or CHIMPs. CHIMPs are sometimes used to shift spending outside the budget window on paper without actually saving taxpayers any money. Doing so should not be permitted because it would disingenuously hide spending and undermine budget caps.
Again, we encourage you to exercise fiscal discipline, avoid CHIMPs or other budgetary gimmicks, and oppose any spending legislation that would violate the BCA or of the modest limits established in Ryan-Murray.
National Taxpayers Union
James L. Martin
60 Plus Association
Americans for Tax Reform
Campaign for Liberty
Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Coalition to Reduce Spending
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Peter J. Thomas
The Conservative Caucus, Inc.
Cost of Government Center
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
R Street Institute
Republican Liberty Caucus
Restore America’s Mission
Rio Grande Foundation
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Taxpayers Protection Alliance