NTU urges all Representatives to vote “YES” on H. Con. Res. 71, the fiscal year 2018 budget resolution. Although this resolution contains several significant flaws, its passage is critical, primarily for addressing the nation’s highest fiscal priority – fixing our broken tax code.
For the first time in decades, Congress and the President are working together toward the enactment of pro-growth tax reform that simplifies the code, reduces administrative burdens, and provides financial relief to families of all economic backgrounds. Getting tax reform done will require usage of the reconciliation process, which can only be initiated if the House and Senate pass a unified budget. The importance of doing so cannot be overstated.
Nonetheless, the House budget sends taxpayers mixed messages when it comes to fiscal discipline. The resolution achieves balance over a ten-year window, which would be an encouraging development. On the other hand, it unwisely pegs defense spending at $622 billion; far exceeding the $549 billion cap established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). Exceeding the cap would necessitate a budget sequester, unless Congress opts to pass legislation eviscerating the BCA, which has been the most effective tool for trimming discretionary spending in years. Either way, taxpayers would be shortchanged by a lack of fiscal restraint on the part of Congress.
The budget also proposes spending $87 billion on the Global War on Terror fund, previously known as the Overseas Contingency Operations account. This has been repeatedly used as a slush fund that has allowed Congress to circumvent budget caps. Lawmakers should not tolerate the ongoing misuse of this fund, which should be used only for true emergencies.
To its credit, H. Con. Res. 71 contains some encouraging provisions that could help achieve much-needed savings. For instance, it includes reconciliation instructions calling for a total of $203 billion in spending cuts across a wide variety of programs and seeks a $700 billion reduction in improper payments. These are bold attempts to rein in the fiscal profligacy that has helped contribute to our $20 trillion debt.
NTU hopes lawmakers will address a number of concerning provisions through the legislative process. Still, the budget must be evaluated in a broader context. Congress has a rare opportunity to enact historic tax reform that could reinvigorate the economy and improve the standard of living for Americans from all walks of life. If fundamental tax reform is going to become a reality, passage of this budget is imperative.
Roll call votes on H. Con. Res. 71 will be included in our annual Rating of Congress and a “YES” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.