WASHINGTON — House Republicans released a long-delayed budget blueprint Tuesday that promises to bring the federal budget into balance over a decade through steep cuts to discretionary spending, new restrictions on the social safety net and relatively rosy assumptions of consistently strong economic growth.
The partisan budget resolution, which the House Budget Committee plans to mark up Wednesday, comes five months after the April 15 deadline set by the 1974 budget law for adoption of the measure, which is designed to guide spending and tax policy.
It stands no chance of winning support in the Democratic-controlled Senate, which is already at loggerheads with House appropriators over fiscal 2024 spending levels. But the document makes good on a political promise by the new House GOP majority to offer a road map to a balanced budget by curbing spending growth.
“Our muscle as Republicans for fiscal responsibility has atrophied over the years, and we’re trying to rebuild that,” House Budget Chairman Jodey C. Arrington told reporters. “And so it’s like going back into the weight room when you haven’t been there in a long time.”
The Texas Republican stopped short of pledging his chamber would adopt the austere fiscal blueprint given the House’s tight GOP margin and little chance for any Democratic support. Arrington said he thinks there are “close to 218” votes for the budget resolution but still not quite enough to adopt it.
“But I can tell you I think the vast majority of our conference supports this,” he said, adding that marking up the budget plan would “encourage at a minimum the debate about what that path forward into a more sustainable fiscal future looks like.”
Arrington’s budget blueprint calls for total fiscal 2024 discretionary spending of $1.47 trillion, the number reflected in House appropriations bills that pares back spending to fiscal 2022 levels. Spending would then be allowed to grow by only 1 percent a year, which amounts to additional cuts after accounting for population growth and inflation.
Certain one-time emergency spending and funding provided under the 2021 infrastructure law would be removed from the “baseline,” or assumptions that Congress will extend current law. Overall, discretionary spending would come down by $4.6 trillion over a decade, according to House Budget GOP staff.
That’s just one piece of a package that would slash projected deficits by $16.3 trillion over a decade, producing a small surplus of $130 billion at the end of 10 years.
©2023 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Visit cqrollcall.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.