TPA Signs Coalition Letter to Congress Warning Against Breaking Spending Caps, Again

Michi Iljazi

July 28, 2014

Now is the time of year when a flurry of appropriations bills hit the floor in the House and Senate and marathon voting takes place so that politicians can make quick work of spending taxpayer money before heading out of town for their six-week vacation. TPA has been watching the appropriations process over the last few months and are mindful of the itch that Congress gets to spend more money than they limit themselves in writing. Taking that into account, TPA signed onto a letter sent by National Taxpayers Union, joining 60 Plus Association, American Commitment, Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for Liberty, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Coalition to Reduce Spending, Competitive Enterprise Institute, The Conservative Caucus, Inc., Cost of Government Center, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, DownsizeDC.org, Freedom Action, FreedomWorks, R Street Institute, Republican Liberty Caucus, Restore America’s Mission, Rio Grande Foundation, and Taxpayers for Common Sense calling on both the House and Senate to abide by budgetary limits they set in both Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) and subsequently modified by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 aka the “Ryan-Murray” deal. It is bad enough that they broke the limits set forth by the BCA once, but to do so again would be yet another insult to taxpayers at a time when they are struggling to limit their own personal spending habits.

read the full letter below:

Open Letter to the House and Senate: Keep the Caps

July 24, 2014

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.

Sincerely,

Brandon Arnold, National Taxpayers Union

James L. Martin, 60 Plus Association

Phil Kerpen, American Commitment

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform

Norman Singleton, Campaign for Liberty

Brian Garst, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Jonathan Bydlak, Coalition to Reduce Spending

Lawson Bader, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Peter J. Thomas, The Conservative Caucus, Inc.

Mattie Duppler, Cost of Government Center

Tom Schatz, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Jim Babka, DownsizeDC.org

Coley Jackson, Freedom Action

Matt Kibbe, FreedomWorks

Andrew Moylan, R Street Institute

Matt Nye, Republican Liberty Caucus

Dave Wallace, Restore America’s Mission

Paul Gessing, Rio Grande Foundation

Ryan Alexander, Taxpayers for Common Sense

David Williams, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

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