Letter: Don’t Spend MORE than Spending Limits

Liberals went apoplectic when House Republicans wanted to spend less than the spending caps set in the Budget Control Act (BCA) of last year. Forget the fact that a cap just means you can’t spend more than that, but in no way prohibits you from spending less. But liberal logic says otherwise.

But now, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) apparently wants to spend more than the caps. Now that is a violation of the spending limits imposed by the BCA. Chairman Conrad’s aggregate spending limit, measured in outlays, is $2.945 trillion, a full $14 billion more than the BCA spending caps of $2.931 trillion.

Because of this violation, a coalition of conservative organizations, including Heritage Action, sent an opposition letter to Senators:

“We are deeply concerned that Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) is prepared to exceed the overall spending limit set out in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA).  In the absence of the Senate adopting a budget for fiscal year (FY) 2013, the BCA requires the Senate Budget Committee Chairman to establish spending limit in line with the March 2012 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline.

“However, Chairman Conrad set the aggregate spending limit, as measured in outlays, at $2.945 trillion, while the CBO baseline amount is $2.931 trillion.  The result is a $14 billion violation of the BCA limit.

“Perhaps most troubling to taxpayers is the fact that Chairman Conrad does not dispute these differences.  In fact, Congressional Quarterly reported that the Chairman agrees that he allows additional spending that will increase the nation’s debt by $14 billion in FY 2013.

“Some may argue an additional $14 billion in debt is small compared to the annual budget deficits that now routinely exceed $1 trillion.  Yet the nation’s debt, at nearly $16 trillion, exceeds the size of the entire economy and already threatens the economic and national security.  This additional spending is not only contrary to the agreement hammered out in the BCA, it is unwise and completely unnecessary.  It is precisely this type of fiscally irresponsible behavior and budget gimmickry that continues to outrage taxpayers and leave Congress’s popularity hovering near single digits.

“We understand the chairman’s submitted figures will soon be challenged on the Senate floor through a point of order and that Chairman Conrad himself, not the Presiding Officer, will be allowed to decide whether the point of order is permissible.  Assuming the chairman rejects the point of order against his own reckless spending limits, we strongly urge you to appeal the ruling and vote to uphold the point of order as a show of support for greater spending limitations.  It is time for lawmakers to stop spending beyond the nation’s means and start living up to their promises of fiscal restraint.”

You can see the letter and other signers here.

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