Republican Study Committee Aims to Balance Federal Budget in Seven Years

Republican Study Committee Aims to Balance Federal Budget in Seven Years
Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va.) speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas on July 9, 2021. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Lawrence Wilson
6/14/2023
Updated:
6/15/2023
0:00

The House Republican Study Committee (RSC) released a 2024 budget proposal that would balance the federal budget in seven years while advancing conservative values, stabilizing Social Security, strengthening national defense, and slashing taxes on businesses and individuals.

“It all boils down to something we’ve heard the president [Joe Biden] say quite a few times this year. Show me your budget, and I'll show you your values. Our values are clearly on display with this budget,” Caucus Chairman Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) said at a Capitol Hill news conference introducing the document on June 14.

“We’re protecting life. We’re defending our borders. We’re strengthening our military. We’re cutting taxes for working families, helping small businesses thrive, saving Medicare and Social Security for future generations, and unleashing American energy production. And we’re just getting started,” Hern said.

Caucus members presented the budget proposal as an antidote to what they see as the unsustainable fiscal course charted by the Biden administration.

“The reckless policies of President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats have created a record $10 trillion in new spending in just two years, caused historic inflation, and forced massive interest rate hikes,” said Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va.), chair of the RNC budget task force.

The White House responded with a statement saying the RSC budget favors the wealthy and large corporations over hardworking families. “It’s not just backward, it threatens all the economic progress the President has made over the last two and a half years to rebuild an economy that works for everyone,” the statement said.

The budget includes commonsense reforms that will reduce spending by $16 trillion in 10 years, cutting nondefense discretionary spending by $5 trillion during that period, according to Cline.

Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) speaks during a committee hearing in Washington on July 17, 2020. (Erin Scott/Pool/Getty Images)
Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) speaks during a committee hearing in Washington on July 17, 2020. (Erin Scott/Pool/Getty Images)

“There’s two ways to keep the books. You can cook the books or you can balance the books. This right here balances the books,” said Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), indicating the budget proposal.

Here are some major provisions in the budget.

Spending at 2022 Levels

This budget would reduce nondefense discretionary spending to the 2022 level. That is the amount originally proposed by Republicans, which was revised during debt ceiling negotiations between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Biden.

Those negotiations, which culminated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act signed into law on June 3, stipulated a ceiling on spending, not a floor, according to Cline.

“If the appropriations committee chooses to spend less than those ceilings, that’s completely within the framework,” Cline said.

Stabilize Social Security and Medicare

The RNC plan would address the looming insolvency of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, projected to occur in about 10 years. Failure to address the problem would result in a 23 percent cut in benefits in the next decade, according to the RNC.

The White House said the budget “amounts to a devastating attack on Medicare, Social Security, and Americans’ access to health coverage and prescription drugs.”

The proposed budget would expand consumer choice and provider competition in Medicare to lower premiums. It would also increase the age of eligibility to 69, increasing by three months per year beginning with people who are now age 59. There would be no change for those currently 60 or older.

Shrink the Federal Government

Several provisions of the budget aim to limit the power of the federal government to regulate businesses. One would reinstate the Trump administration’s executive orders requiring that two federal regulations be eliminated for every new regulation adopted.
Another would abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Insurance Office.

Reduce Taxes

The proposal would repeal some $553 billion in green-energy tax credits as well as some $350 billion in tax increases on businesses. It would also rescind some $80 billion in funding provided to the IRS over the next 10 years to ensure the payment of federal taxes.
Other provisions would lower taxes on businesses that invest in manufacturing equipment, create a new category of tax-free individual retirement savings accounts, and abolish the tax on inherited wealth.

Focus Defense Efforts on Asia

The RNC budget aims to strengthen national defense by guarding against threats from Asia and contributing to the defense of Israel.

Regarding China, the budget would impose sanctions on members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and provide Taiwan with weapons such as anti-ship missiles, air-defense capabilities, and drones. Funding is provided for efforts to restrict the theft of intellectual property by the CCP.

To further guard against the CCP, the budget would provide for the modernization of U.S. nuclear capabilities.

Air Force soldiers clear the ground in front of an armed F-16V fighter jet during a drill at Hualien Air Force base in Taiwan on Aug. 17, 2022. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)
Air Force soldiers clear the ground in front of an armed F-16V fighter jet during a drill at Hualien Air Force base in Taiwan on Aug. 17, 2022. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

Economic sanctions on North Korea would continue. And “the toughest package of sanctions” ever imposed on Iran would be implemented.

Full military assistance would be provided to Israel, including the Iron Dome air defense system.

Military aid to Ukraine would be subject to additional accountability.

Champion Conservative Values

The RNC budget would advance familiar Republican values, including support for pro-life legislation, opposition to Critical Race Theory, and opposition to gender transition therapy.
The budget would also ensure that faith-based institutions can participate in government programs and the provision of government services.

Passage Complicated

The RSC is the largest of the five major Republican caucuses, having more than 170 members. It is generally considered the most conservative except for the House Freedom Caucus.

Passage of this proposal will likely be complicated by the fact that Republicans hold only a slender majority in the House, while Democrats control the Senate and the White House.

Republican leaders have given assurances that the RSC budget proposal will be brought to the House floor for a vote, according to Hern.

Joseph Lord contributed to this report.
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