June 23, 2018 - On Thursday, Congressman Tom McClintock Offered an Amendment to the House Budget Resolution.
Remarks to House Budget Committee by Congressman Tom McClintock:
My amendment takes all the policy reforms in the budget resolution and writes those savings into the reconciliation instructions. This does not change a single recommendation that we have been debating. It simply implements them – about $3.55 trillion over ten years after removing interest payments and non-reconcilable items under the Byrd Rule.
During my eight years on this committee, my greatest frustration is that every year we make policy recommendations, and then claim that the budget will balance within the decade based on those recommendations. But we never implement them. And in those years, the debt has doubled and now threatens a fiscal crisis.
The budget act assumes that when the budget resolution sets limits on mandatory spending, it will also include the reconciliation instructions to the authorizing committees to make the statutory changes that are necessary to conform with the mandatory spending limits. The authorizing committees then have a deadline to transmit those changes back to the budget committee, and those changes are then automatically included in the reconciliation bill. If they fail to meet their deadline, the budget committee has the power to insert its own statutory language into the reconciliation bill.
I always hear that it’s the mandatory spending that’s out of control. Yet, it is easier to control mandatory spending than discretionary spending, because the reconciliation bill gets expedited consideration in the Senate, while the appropriations bills do not.
In the decade I’ve served in Congress, this committee has chosen NOT to place its policy recommendations in the reconciliation instructions. Instead, we promise them for next year and then pretend that the budget will balance in ten years. With these instructions, it WILL balance in ten years; without these instructions, it won’t.
This was the crux of my questions yesterday. We claim $5.4 trillion in mandatory savings over the next ten years, but we only provide instructions for $300 billion. That means we are five percent serious and 95 percent “just kidding.”
I want to emphasize, there is nothing in these instructions that isn’t already in the budget resolution. All the policies and savings are the same. The only difference is that this amendment places these savings into the reconciliation instructions where they will be implemented. It transforms these policy recommendations from promise to action.
We heard a lot of speeches yesterday about how dangerous the debt is becoming to the future of our nation. For many years we’ve promised mandatory spending reform and for many years we’ve always put it off until the next year.
The budget resolution is not an “aspirational” document. It is an operational document. The budget resolution is in reality the most powerful fiscal tool we have to control spending. But it must be used that way.
Let’s do something that is worthy of the trust our fellow citizens have given us. Clearly, most of our members can see the fiscal crisis looming ever larger in our country’s path – they said as much yesterday. If we can see the danger, and have within our hands the tools to avert that danger – there is no excuse for inaction.
That’s what this amendment is all about.
Congressman Tom McClintock