Taxpayers Do Not Get Everything They Want But They Get What They Need | Citizens Against Government Waste

Taxpayers Do Not Get Everything They Want But They Get What They Need

The WasteWatcher

The result of the negotiations over the debt ceiling, which has been introduced as H.R. 3746, the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, brings to mind what Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you find you get what you need.”  The taxpayers did not get everything they wanted, nor did fiscal conservatives, but they did get a needed first step to greater fiscal responsibility. 

The Fiscal Responsibility Act reduces discretionary spending to fiscal year 2022 levels and caps spending increases at 1 percent over the next six years.  That means non-defense spending will be cut by 5.4 percent, or $40 billion, the largest-ever year-over-year reduction.  Total non-defense spending will be $111 billion below the FY 2024 Congressional Budget Office baseline and $105 billion lower than President Biden’s FY 2024 budget request.  The legislation rescinds some, but not all, unused COVID relief funds (which still constitutes the largest rescission ever) and reduces some, but not enough, funding for the Internal Revenue Service.

The legislation also provides for a 1 percent cut in spending if the 12 appropriations bills are not enacted by Congress, something that has only occurred four times since the Budget Control and Impoundment Act of 1974 was signed into law, and not at all since FY 1997.  The consideration of all 12 bills will provide members of Congress with opportunities to include recommendations like Citizens Against Government Waste has provided in its Prime Cuts report, which would save $3.9 trillion over five years, and other ideas to cut wasteful spending, like eliminating the $26.1 billion in earmarks in the FY 2023 appropriations bills, that have heretofore been ignored by Congress.

House Republicans and fiscal conservatives were able to get what they wanted in H.R. 2811, the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which passed by two votes on April 26, 2023.  But that was never going to get through the Senate or be signed into law as written.  Now, House Republicans should agree to get what they need by voting for the Fiscal Responsibility Act, so they can help taxpayers get more of the spending cuts and fiscal restraint that they still want in the future.

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