Facing down a veto threat, the House of Representatives has passed the National Defense Authorization Act 270-156 on Thursday, sending the bill on its way to the President’s desk, where it faces a veto threat from the President, who objects to the heavy use of the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund, instead preferring an overall lifting of budget caps.
In spite of various controversies rumbling in Congress, the Senate this morning passed a temporary funding measure that funds the government at its current levels until December 11, with 87 Yeses. If the House passes the bill, the standoff is put off — for a little while, until after it expires, at which point Congress will have to pass a long-term spending bill, and probably a debt limit hike to boot, before New Year’s.
It’s going to be a hectic fall for fiscal conservatives, and now more than ever, we should keep a close eye on what Congress is up to.
UPDATE: The House of Representatives approved the legislation late Wednesday afternoon, by a vote of 277-151.
It can be difficult to convey the type of work we and others do every day here in Washington, DC, to push back against the ever-rising tide of government spending.
But a new study released today gives some insight into one such effort that the Coalition to Reduce Spending has been a part of.
“The fiscal hawks had four years of ascendancy over defense hawks, and the ‘Pentagon Budget Campaign’ was a key reason why,” writes the study’s author, John Bennett. “The campaign’s unusual left-right alliance provided key vote tallies, intellectual backing, and public pressure that put cuts in place and overcame efforts to reverse them.”
Read the full study here. We’re proud of ours and others’ work with the Pentagon Budget Campaign.
Today, we were proud to add our name to a list over two-dozen organizations urging politicians to keep their word and not give up on the Budget Control Act.
The full PDF is available here.
Dear Member of Congress:
On behalf of our organizations and the millions of members we represent, we urge you to ensure that any legislation providing discretionary funding for Fiscal Year 2016 adhere to the discretionary spending levels set forth by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA).
Congress passed the BCA with bipartisan support and a promise to cap overall discretionary spending every year for the following decade. Even with these modest spending limits, discretionary spending will still increase in 2016 and every year thereafter.
Since its implementation, the BCA has been a rare victory for fiscal responsibility in Washington and has helped to control the growth of government spending and reduce deficits. Sadly, though not surprisingly, some in Washington want to abandon the BCA caps in order to spend more taxpayer money and add to the growing debt burden for current and future generations.
Facing an $18 trillion national debt, abandoning these modest spending limits by directly breaking the BCA caps or using budget gimmicks to get around them would be fiscally irresponsible and send a dangerous message to the American people. Hard-working Americans deserve to have their policymakers live up to their promises on spending. Under the BCA, total discretionary budget authority in FY 2016 is capped at $1.016 trillion. Any discretionary spending legislation exceeding that level would break the promise made to the American taxpayers.
Writing today in Rare, CRS president Jonathan Bydlak takes on a looming issue facing the country: Growing student loan debts.
Unsurprisingly, the issue has begun to register in the 2016 presidential race, although the bulk of the plans presented so far would all come at a steep cost. Hillary Clinton’s New College Compact carries a price tag of $350 billion over 10 years, while her Democratic rivals would likely spend more. Senator Bernie Sanders’ plan tips the scale at $70 billion annually between federal and state governments. And while Martin O’Malley’s initiative has no price tag, the inclusion of elements like a freeze on public tuition rates, additional funding grants, and on-campus child care facilities means new spending is likely.
All three Democratic plans entrench the federal government in education, while details on how they’ll be paid for are in short supply. Clinton’s plan, for instance, allows community college students to attend classes free of charge, and individuals who have to borrow will be afforded much lower interest rates on their loans. While the Clinton campaign claims the Compact will be “fully paid for by closing tax loopholes and expenditures for the most fortunate,” information on exactly how his task will be accomplished is noticeably absent.
More troubling, none of the plans consider the role that government intervention has played in increasing tuition to begin with.
Read the rest here.