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An Open Letter to the United States Congress: National Taxpayers Union’s Views on H.R. 933

March 6, 2013

Dear Members of Congress:

The House will soon vote on H.R. 933, the “Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act.”  The bill would provide funding for the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year and secure the overall levels of savings that were set forth in the modified sequestration process from the 2011 Budget Control Act. On behalf of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union, I write to offer our views on this Continuing Resolution.

While taxpayers should hardly be enthusiastic about a total budget of $3.5 trillion, it is critical to secure the sequester’s $85 billion in reduced budget authority, as this bill would do.  At a time when spending has escalated rapidly with little concern for fiscal responsibility, even a small pullback in expenditures should be recognized as progress for taxpayers.  

That said, any positive sentiments about this legislation should be tempered by the fact that – even with the sequester – the federal government will spend roughly $845 billion more than it takes in this year.  Worse, the Congressional Budget Office projects the federal government will add approximately $7 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years.  H.R. 933 merely slows down the out-of-control spending problem in Washington – it does not come close to fixing it.  Further, this bill might very well represent a squandered opportunity to defund programs that will cause enormous budgetary problems in the future. Thus, H.R. 933 should be considered as only a small step toward putting our fiscal house in order.  If it is not followed by additional cuts it will, in retrospect, be considered a failure.

Based on the information about H.R. 933 available to us and its current context in the legislative process, National Taxpayers Union’s Rating of Congress would classify a “yes” vote on the legislation as a pro-taxpayer position. However, the weight of this vote in the Rating will be determined with consideration toward any alternative funding bills as well as future actions by Congress to curb spending. Even with passage of this measure, the nation’s taxpayers will remain skeptical of Washington’s long-term commitment to regain control over the nation’s finances.

Brandon Arnold
Vice President of Government Affairs