The Coalition to Reduce Spending is proud to have joined 8 other organizations in sending a coalition letter to Congress urging them to support the bipartisan “Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act.”
Often, “improper payments” are made by the government to the wrong individuals, for the wrong reason or for an incorrect amount. This legislation hopes to end that abuse. The letter states that:
One significant cause of improper payments is payments made by federal agencies to individuals who are deceased. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), not all federal agencies have access to the complete list of deceased individuals maintained by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Instead, when checking eligibility for federal payments, many agencies can only use a partial list and so mistakenly pay millions of deceased people. For example, the Department of Agriculture and the Federal Emergency Management Agency can only use the partial list, resulting in improper payments to dead beneficiaries.
We’re proud to add our name alongside these diverse stakeholders and push for meaningful reforms to one of the largest areas of wasteful spending.
We are pleased to announce that Troy Ratterree and Veronica Birkenstock, running for Congress in the 6th and 26th Congressional Districts of Texas, respectively, have officially signed the Coalition to Reduce Spending’s pledge to cut spending and debt. The pledge stipulates that they will not vote for any spending without offsets elsewhere in the budget and will vote only for budgets with a path to balance.
Mr. Ratterree, a small business owner for nearly 40 years, joins candidates and elected officials from around the country, including Rep. Jason Lewis (MN-2), Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-1), and Rep. Mark Sanford (SC-1).
Upon signing, Ratterree frankly told the Coalition:
“We must stop borrowing from my grandchildren.”
Mrs. Birkenstock is also a small business owner and entrepreneur. After signing the pledge, she explained to us:
“We must learn to live within our means. Not to do so, is irresponsible.”
Two more pledge signers hail from Texas, running for Congress in the 2nd and 6th districts. Dan Crenshaw (TX-2) and Kevin Harrison (TX-6) have pledged not to vote for spending without offsets in the budget, and that they will only vote for budgets that lead to balance.
Lieutenant Commander Dan Crenshaw was a member of Seal Team Three and was deployed overseas five times. Additionally, he received two Bronze Stars (one with Valor), the Purple Heart, and the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor, among many other recognitions for his service. After signing, he told the Coalition, “It takes a real leader with integrity and courage to tackle the real drivers of the national debt: mandatory spending programs that include Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. It is time for common-sense solutions that reign in these programs so that our children don’t suffer the consequences.”
Mr. Harrison served as the lead pastor at Victorious Life Church in Waco for ten years, and in 2006, became the president and founder of West Coast Bible College and Seminary. Mr. Harrison has various proposals for addressing the debt including reducing spending off the top in every governmental agency by 10%-25% and capping discretionary spending. He also emphasizes overhauling Social Security and setting benchmarks for those receiving entitlements.
The 2018 elections are just around the corner. We, at the Coalition, hope to reach out to every elected official and candidate for office with the opportunity to go on the record and pledge to reduce spending. We commend these two and the others who have signed our pledge and are committed to fighting this uphill battle.
The Coalition to Reduce Spending is a non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to limiting federal spending. The Reject the Debt spending pledge commits elected officials and candidates to (1) consider all spending open for reduction and vote only for budgets that present a path to balance and (2) vote against any appropriations bill that increases total spending and against the authorization or funding of new programs without offsetting cuts in other programs.
Today, Congressional leadership agreed to a bipartisan budget deal that blasts through budget caps and could return the US to trillion-dollar deficits in short order. Fresh off of historic tax reform, Congress apparently seems content passing along a huge future tax hike onto the next generation.
Over the 10 year window, this Schumer-McConnell budget would result in $1.5 trillion more added to the National Debt.
The National Taxpayers Union notes that while initial estimates place the total at about $300 billion in new spending over the next two years, that total is likely to rise precipitously after including off-budget Overseas Contingency Operations funding, disaster funding, and even more in other emergency spending.
Republican lawmakers have long insisted on offsets for any new spending, but Taxpayers for Common Sense points out that this time, “the vast majority of this package is not offset. Not even sham offsets.”
Heritage Action argues that while Republicans may have good reason to want to raise some spending levels, this deal is a fiscally irresponsible reminder of how out-of-touch Washington is with everyday Americans. Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said it “represents budgeting at its worst.” Many others including Citizens Against Government Waste, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, and FreedomWorks, have also come out opposed.
Adding insult to injury, this deal comes just months after House Speaker Paul Ryan promised that Congress would focus on spending cuts in 2018, and after years of assurances that elected officials would tackle debt and spending once they had the chance.
We urge every Member of Congress to reject this deal and stand for true fiscal accountability.
Along with Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks, and others, the Coalition urges the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to hold a markup on H.R. 1339, the Freedom from Government Competition Act of 2017.
The legislation “eliminates waste in the federal government by requiring a “Yellow Pages” test for government services. The “Yellow Pages” test directs agencies to identify certain functions that could be opened up to competitive bidding. H.R. 1339 does not mandate privatization; rather, it envisions a system in which private sector companies could compete alongside the federal government for the opportunity to perform these functions more efficiently and at a lower cost to taxpayers.”
Read the full coalition letter here.