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Once again, a massive deal, crafted in secret, unveiled at the eleventh hour, is being rushed through Congress under threat of panic. Once again, we have waited until an artificial deadline to force through that which our voters oppose.
At its core, this deal with President Barack Obama does two things. First, it lifts federal spending caps for the next two years—including a $40 billion increase in spending on the federal bureaucracy. Second, it waives the federal debt limit through March 2017, allowing for approximately $1.5 trillion to be added to the debt—ensuring no further conversation about our debt course or any corresponding action to alter it.
It appears this deal is built on the same principles as the Ryan-Murray budget deal from 2013.
It exchanges instant increases in federal spending for distant savings, as much as two decades down the road, that are likely to never materialize. It funds increased spending through increased revenues—violating a core budget principle by collecting more money to expand an already too large federal bureaucracy. And it trades the termination of today’s spending limits for the promise of new spending limits 10 years from now.
The spending caps in law today were pledged as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act agreement to lift the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion. It represented a bipartisan commitment to cap spending at a fixed amount. This deal shatters that commitment by spending $80 billion more than we promised over the next two years.
The deal also uses a common gimmick, where alleged savings in an entitlement program are used to boost unrelated spending in the federal bureaucracy.