WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced a pair of legislation pieces designed to crack down on reckless government spending.
The first is the Dollar-for-Dollar Deficit Reduction Act. This bill is to promote spending reform by keeping Congress from raising the debt limit without cutting spending over the next decade. The entire amount should be offset within federal programs, allowing the interest savings on the national debt to provide additional savings above the debt limit increase amount."As we begin the latest in a string of battles over raising the debt limit, it's time to address the underlying problem - why is Washington's spending so out-of-control that it has to borrow money to pay our bills? Our economy has not exhibited the robust growth we all hope for, and continuing this pattern of soaring spending will only worsen matters by piling onto our record-high debt and dumping an unconscionable burden on future generations," Portman said.
A release from Portman's office states that similar legislation in 1985, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2010, and 2011 has helped to rein in the expanding national debt and that nearly every significant deficit reduction law of the past 27 years has been linked to a debt limit debate.
"Washington cannot continue to raise the debt limit while kicking the can down the road on deficit reduction. In order to spur job creation and get our economy back on the right track, we must restore fiscal responsibility, and this starts by stopping Washington's reckless pattern of spending money we don't have," Portman added.
The Dollar-for-Dollar Deficit Reduction Act would make the "dollar-for-dollar" rule a permanent debt-limit policy to ensure that any increase in the debt limit corresponds with spending cuts. The bill requires that the Treasury Secretary notify Congress 60 calendar days before the debt limit is to be reached and extraordinary measures undertaken.
In addition, the Dollar-for-Dollar Deficit Reduction Act requires that any presidential request to raise the debt limit be accompanied by a proposal to cut non-interest spending by an equal or greater amount over the next decade, that any debt limit legislation include non-interest spending cuts of an equal or greater amount over the next decade, and prohibits the use of timing shifts and expiring emergency spending to reach the spending savings target.
On the positive side, Portman claims the bill will reduce spending by more than $3 trillion over the next decade, pushing spending below 20 percent of GDP by 2022, and reduce the budget deficit to just one percent of GDP by 2022, paving the way for a fully balanced budget.
The other legislation from Portman Tuesday was actually a bipartisan bill to keep the government running to prevent last-minute budget deals to address spending and end the threat to cut off essential government services.
The End Government Shutdowns Act would create an automatic continuing resolution (CR) for any regular appropriations bill, lessening the chance of what Portman termed, "last-minute, budget-busting bills being forced through against the threat of a government shutdown." The bill was also introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT).
Since 1997, Congress has failed to pass its regular appropriations bills by the October 1 deadline, which has caused rushed budget agreements, the threat of government shutdowns, and unpredictability for government agencies and the people who rely on them. In 2011, Congress barely reached a midnight-hour agreement to avoid full government shutdown.
The End Government Shutdowns Act would create an automatic CR for any regular appropriations bill not completed by October 1. After the first 120 days, CR funding would be reduced by one percentage point, and would continue to be reduced by that margin every 90 days. Similar to a House bill introduces last year, this bill gives Congress until January until the first automatic cuts would occur, rather than implementing them on October 1.
"Despite repeated signs that Washington's out-of-control spending threatens to bankrupt the country, Washington continues to be deadlocked about the budget debate. Although Congress continually fails to pass appropriations bills by the October 1 deadline, Americans should not have the threat of a government shutdown hanging over their heads," said Portman. "Our legislation ensures the federal government continues to provide the necessary services to its citizens while protecting against the panic and pressure of last-minute budget deals, allowing Congress to make the decisions necessary to get Washington's fiscal house back in order."
"Threatening to shut down the government every few months undermines our economy, creates uncertainty, and hurts working families and small businesses," said Tester. "This bipartisan bill will force Congress to make responsible decisions about getting our debt and deficit under control and without putting our nation's economy at risk."