Slash Spending Now! | Citizens Against Government Waste

Slash Spending Now!

The WasteWatcher

President Obama was quite clear on his expectations for a deal to raise the debt limit: “The only bottom line that I have is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election, into 2013.” While the President blatantly telegraphed that he cared only about his own reelection rather than taking responsibility for the nation’s fiscal issues, House Republicans offered solutions that would have ensured that lawmakers remained accountable for their actions, instead of simply giving elected officials a pass. However, congressional leaders spun their wheels as they found it impossible to negotiate with a wavering White House.

With an August 2 deadline looming and the nation’s economic future hanging in the balance, a deal was finally struck at the eleventh hour. The House passed the Budget Control Act on August 1, 2011 in a 269–161 vote and sent it over to the Senate, where it was passed on August 2 in a 74–26 vote. President Obama quickly signed it into law the same day.

The Budget Control Act sets discretionary spending caps that will reduce budget deficits by $917 billion over 10 years, allowing for a subsequent $900 billion debt ceiling increase. A Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (“Super Committee”) has already been formed to find an additional $1.5 trillion in savings. Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) have been chosen for the Super Committee and will be required to submit a report and legislative language to the President and Congress by December 2, 2011. A vote on the deficit reduction package will be required by December 23, 2011.

If the Super Committee’s recommendations are enacted by Congress, or if a balanced budget amendment is passed, the President will be allowed to request another debt limit increase up to $1.5 trillion. Should the Super Committee’s recommendations be rejected or a balanced budget amendment fail to pass both chambers, $1.2 trillion will be automatically sequestered. These automatic spending cuts will primarily reduce defense and Medicare spending, providing an added incentive for Congress to act.

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) consistently supported much larger spending reductions than those included in the Budget Control Act.  In an ideal world, the House-passed Cut, Cap and Balance plan would be the law of the land.  However, President Obama and the Senate refused to support the bill, so action had to be taken.  There was no other viable alternative, since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) proposal was chock full of accounting gimmicks to slash a fictional $2 trillion, including grossly overestimated discretionary spending cuts and roughly $1 trillion in potential future savings tied to ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite the passage of the Budget Control Act, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) announced on August 5 that it downgraded the nation's AAA credit rating for the first time since granting it in 1917. The promise of budget cuts was not enough to satisfy S&P. If the nation’s credit downgrade doesn’t sound the necessary alarm bells, we’re as good as Greece. There has never been a more critical time in the country’s history to get finances under control. The mission is clear: lawmakers must work to slash spending now.

On August 16, the nation’s top fiscally conservative organizations joined forces to create a new website that will provide taxpayers, the media, and Congress with the most up-to-date and comprehensive recommendations to cut federal spending.  The website, slashspendingnow.org, has been established by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), along with Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), and the 60 Plus Association to provide a clearinghouse of information to the Super Committee.

CAGW is pleased to spearhead the website and is proud to partner with our fiscally conservative allies, all of whom have substantive and specific waste-cutting proposals, as well as sound ideas for entitlement reform.  While the initial purpose of the website is to be a resource for the Super Committee, it will also serve as an ongoing fount of information for Congress and the executive branch as details of deficit reduction are required over the next decade.

The website is intended as a one-stop shopping site for anyone interested in the best recommendations from experts on government waste, taxes, and entitlement reform.  Slashspendingnow.org will include links to substantive resources and reports on deficit reduction, as well as provide an ongoing discussion focused on how best to cut spending without raising taxes.  

Without setting the process in motion to cut the deficit and debt, the nation’s economy will continue to sink while the taxpayers’ tab will grow beyond any fathomable scope. Members of Congress should review and utilize CAGW’s Prime Cuts as a roadmap to deficit reduction. There is no shortage of places to cut wasteful, unnecessary and duplicative government spending; CAGW’s Prime Cuts 2011 provides 691 recommendations that would save taxpayers $391.9 billion in the first year and $1.8 trillion over five years. The Super Committee must propose substantial spending cuts and resist pressure to succumb to those who keep pushing plans to raise taxes or generate “new revenue.” That idea will continue to be unacceptable to taxpayers, who know that overspending is the real problem.

  -- Erica Gordon

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