Conservative House Members Tout Budget Balancing Plan

December 19, 2012

Despite the fact that recent public opinion polls show broad public support for spending cuts, the conservative blueprint has received little public discussion

DENVER – Members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) – a group of fiscally conservative House Republicans – slammed Congressional Democrats on Tuesday for failing to put forward a substantive proposal to curb federal spending or deal with the rapidly expanding national debt.

“The small business tax increases Democrats campaigned on would only pay for 8 days of federal spending,” read a Tuesday e-mail from the group’s chairman, Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan.

The email also contained a pitch for the group’s own spending reform proposal, dubbed “Cut, Cap and Balance” which aims to balance the budget in 5 years without tax increases.

The RSC proposal would pare back entitlement spending by some $1.3 trillion over the next ten years, repeal ObamaCare – saving some $636 billion, and cap discretionary spending levels, while growing defense spending.

The conservative blueprint would also rein in runaway federal health spending by “slowly phas[ing] in an increase in the Medicare eligibility age for those born in 1958 and after.”

In addition, the RSC plan calls for block granting the low income health care program Medicaid to the states, a proposal patterned on the successful 1996 welfare reforms signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been critical of proposed entitlement reforms, including those designed to raise the Medicare retirement age, despite the fact that Americans are living longer and longer.

“Don’t go there because it doesn’t produce money,” Pelosi said last week on CBS. “Raising the retirement age does not get you that much money, so you’re doing a bad thing when it comes to seniors and you’re not achieving your goal.”

Federal spending on health care is projected to double over the next ten years without significant reform, and will exceed the total of all federal discretionary spending by 2016, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation.

“[Spending on] Medicare will almost double over the next decade, from $550 billion this year to $1.064 trillion in 2022,” said the Tax Foundation’s Chief Economist William McBride.  “Medicaid [spending] will more than double, from $253 billion this year to $592 billion in 2022.”

Despite the fact that recent public opinion polls show broad public support for spending cuts – 73 percent according to a December 12-13 Rasmussen Reports Survey – the RSC proposal has received little public discussion.  Instead, President Obama and Congressional leaders have focused primarily on the revenue side of the equation, trading proposals on how much to raise taxes and on whom.

“Their ‘spending cuts’ are mostly gimmicks,” said Jordan in the e-mail. “They won’t touch ObamaCare. They won’t fix Food Stamps or Medicaid. Even though Americans are living longer and Medicare won’t be able to pay full benefits in just a few years, they won’t adjust the eligibility age or consider our suggestions for long-term reform.”

Colorado Representatives Mike Coffman (R-Lone Tree), Scott Tipton (R-Cortez), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo. Spgs.) and Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) are members of the RSC, according to the group’s website.

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