All year long, House Republicans have led on the serious issues facing our country and set the terms of the debate over the debt limit. Republicans insisted if the President wants his debt ceiling increase, the American people will require serious spending cuts and reforms. This framework, while far from perfect, meets House Republicans’ criteria by (1) making spending cuts that are larger than any debt ceiling increase; (2) implementing spending caps to restrain future spending; and (3) advancing the cause of the Balanced Budget Amendment – without tax hikes on families and job creators. While this is not the House-passed “Cut, Cap, & Balance,” it is a package that reflects the principles of Cut, Cap, & Balance.
The framework outlines a two-step approach that would hold President Obama accountable and certify government spending continues to be cut as the debt ceiling is raised, despite the President’s demand for a $2.4 trillion debt limit increase all at once -- without spending cuts that exceed the hike. Here is more information on the plan:
CUTS THAT EXCEED THE DEBT HIKE
The framework includes spending cuts that would exceed the amount of the increased debt authority granted to the President. The framework would cut and cap discretionary spending immediately, saving $1.2 trillion over 10 years (subject to CBO confirmation), and raise the debt ceiling by less – up to $1 trillion – to approximately February. Congress must vote to cut spending FIRST. Then, the President may ask for debt authority of up to $1 trillion, which will be subject to a vote of disapproval by the House and Senate that can be vetoed by the President.
CAPS TO CONTROL FUTURE SPENDING
The framework imposes spending caps that would establish clear limits on future spending and serve as a barrier against government expansion while the economy grows. Failure to remain below these caps will trigger automatic across-the-board cuts (otherwise known as sequestration). This is the same mechanism used in the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement.
BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT
The framework advances the cause of the Balanced Budget Amendment by requiring the House and Senate to vote on the measure after October 1, 2011 but before the end of the year, allowing the American people time to build sufficient support for this popular reform.
ENTITLEMENT REFORMS & SAVINGS
The framework creates a Joint Committee of Congress that is required to report legislation – by November 23, 2011 – that would produce a proposal to reduce the deficit by at least $1.8 trillion over 10 years. The committee would be made up of 12 members, three each appointed by the Speaker, House Minority Leader, Senator Majority leader and Senate Minority Leader. Co-chairs will be chosen by the Speaker and Senate Majority Leader. Each chamber would consider the proposal of the Joint Committee on an up-or-down basis without any amendments. It would not be subject to filibuster in the Senate. If the proposal is enacted, then the President would be authorized to request a debt limit increase of $1.6 trillion. The goal of the committee would be to produce legislation that reforms entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, protect them from bankruptcy, and put them on a sounder financial footing.
NO TAX HIKES
The framework includes no tax hikes, a key principle that Republicans have fought for since day one.