WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today addressed members of the House Republican Conference on the goals and details of the Bipartisan Budget Act. Following are Boehner’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:
Having listened to our members, and the American people, I’m pleased to say we’ve reached a bipartisan budget agreement.
This is an agreement that will help achieve the goals we’ve been talking about this year:
- Secure significant long-term savings from structural entitlement reforms.
- Protect our economy from a dangerous default.
- Strengthen our national security and protect our troops.
- Bring certainty to next year’s appropriations process.
- Protect more Americans from ObamaCare.
- Reject all of the tax increases proposed by the administration.
This two-year budget agreement was filed last night. The House will vote on it tomorrow, so let me get into some of the details.
This agreement will adjust the spending caps for two years by $80 billion, $50 billion the first year, and $30 billion in the second equally divided between defense and non-defense spending.
All budget cap relief is fully offset with mandatory spending cuts and other savings.
This agreement will bring greater certainty to next year’s appropriations process.
What do those budget numbers mean exactly? Let’s take a look at numbers here in this CHART …
Under this agreement, the discretionary budget number is $1.067 trillion for FY 16 and $1.070 trillion for FY 17.
As Leader McCarthy said last night, those numbers are significantly below the discretionary budget numbers that most of you voted for as part of the 2011 Ryan budget.
The discretionary budget number for this agreement is $56 billion below the Ryan budget for FY 16 and $70 billion below the Ryan budget for FY 17.
Moreover, these budget numbers for FYs 16 and 17 are STILL BELOW the pre-sequester spending caps outlined in the 2011 Budget Control Act.
The spending caps and other reductions remain on track to save taxpayers more than $2 trillion as mandated by the original Budget Control Act.
STRUCTURAL ENTITLEMENT REFORMS
This agreement includes significant long-term savings from structural entitlement reforms to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.
Every worker in America pays a portion of their wages into Social Security, which is an essential part of the social safety net.
By law, Social Security contributions are held in two trust funds – the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund.
But next year – before the election – the Disability Insurance Trust Fund is expected to be unable to pay full benefits, resulting in a 20 percent across-the-board benefit cut unless Congress takes action.
First, this agreement ensures that the Disability Insurance Trust Fund is able to continue to pay full benefits, preventing the benefit cut.
Second, it includes structural entitlement reforms to strengthen the long-term solvency of both trust funds.
Some of those reforms include:
- Closing loopholes that allowed individuals to exploit Social Security’s rules in order to obtain larger benefits than Congress intended.
- Requiring a medical review before awarding benefits, which will crack down on fraud.
- Ensuring a robust demonstration program so that we can prove that work incentives increase program integrity.
This is the first significant reform to Social Security since 1983, and would result in $168 billion long-term savings.
OTHER MANDATORY SAVINGS
The agreement includes significant savings from within the Medicare program.
It extends the mandatory sequester through 2025, ensuring additional savings through mandatory entitlement programs.
The bill also ensures taxpayers are not paying more for the same Medicare service provided in different locations.
The combined Medicare reforms in this bill will provide over $30 billion in Medicare entitlement savings in the budget window.
Taxpayers will also save billions of dollars outside of the budget window from permanent Medicare reforms that we secured.
There are some other small savings within the agreement.
The measure will provide a modest increase in fees that employers pay to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, similar to what we did in Ryan-Murray.
Lastly, it prevents a spike in Medicare B premiums for millions of seniors. This initiative is fully offset.
This measure would strengthen our national security, and would bring greater certainty to the Pentagon and our troops who are fighting in harm’s way.
A two-year budget deal gives the Department of Defense certainty, which is its number one priority.
This will allow, among other things, the department to plan and execute critical functions related to readiness of our military, including training, which is a key priority of mine, and I know for many of you.
The deal also prioritizes putting the increased funding in the department’s base budget.
This agreement also takes away the president’s ability to play political games with the defense number.
The base defense discretionary number for FY 2016 is $548.1 billion.
We will be $25 billion above the Budget Control Act number for FY 16 for base defense and $8 billion above the president’s defense OCO request.
And while it’s $5 billion below our and the president’s original request, this is a binding agreement with the president and the Senate.
So we’re stopping him from playing politics with troop funding – and giving the department certainty.
To the point of several members in the room about trusting the president – this is why we negotiated a legislative floor for defense OCO that is the same in both FY16 and FY17.
We were concerned the President might play games in the second year of the deal, and this provision was put in place to proactively head it off.
This year we’ve made major strides in our work to defund and dismantle ObamaCare.
We’ve won two important rulings in our lawsuit to stop the president’s unilateral actions to take away Congress’ “power of the purse.”
We’ve activated reconciliation to put a bill to fundamentally dismantle the law on the President’s desk.
And we’ve succeeded in forcing President Obama to sign our Hire More Heroes Act, and Brett Guthrie’s bill to protect millions of Americans from health care disruptions, and higher costs.
This agreement builds on that success.
By eliminating the law’s auto-enrollment mandate that forces workers to automatically enroll into employer-sponsored health care coverage that they may not want or need, we will repeal another major piece of ObamaCare.
Lastly, this agreement would prevent a dangerous default that would threaten our economy, and raise the debt ceiling through March 2017.
As you know, the administration kept moving up the date of default after claiming for months it wouldn’t hit until December.
I’ve never seen anything quite like it in my entire career.
This deal isn’t perfect by any means – but everyone should acknowledge what our alternative was.
If we didn’t reach a bipartisan budget agreement, we would have been forced to accept another “clean” debt ceiling increase.
Instead, we negotiated a plan that will also support our troops and deliver real entitlement reforms.
In my view, this is the best possible deal at this moment for our troops, for taxpayers, and for the American people.