Cotton Amendment to National Security Bill: Profligate and Irresponsible

Dear Senator:

On behalf of National Taxpayers Union (NTU) and Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS), we strongly urge you to oppose Sen. Cotton’s (R-AR) Amendment #456 to H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, an amendment to eliminate the 2011 Budget Control Act’s (BCA) provisions to enforce the Congressionally-enacted discretionary spending caps.

For the past six years, our organizations have jointly defended the BCA for one simple reason: policymakers promised taxpayers spending cuts worth more than $1 trillion dollars of deficit reduction and didn’t deliver, so spending caps were put in place. There is a simple resolution – come up with the cuts and eliminate the caps. This amendment is profligate and irresponsible.

Complying with the caps, which reduced future outlays only by 11 percent, has been shockingly hard for legislators, and several budget deals to shuffle spending and postpone cuts for a future day may give the impression that the operational model has fallen short.

Far from it. The BCA has forced the issue of spending and how we prioritize limited resources to the forefront of legislative consideration. And not a moment too soon. Only a few days ago, our national debt topped $20 trillion. The Medicare Part A trust fund will be depleted in 2029. Likewise, the Social Security Trust fund will be depleted in 2034. And interest on the public debt is a growing proportion of our federal budget.

Taxpayers were promised more than $1 trillion in deficit reduction under the BCA. Compared to the rapidly metastasizing spending crises to come, this may seem like a paltry sum. It is this dire outlook that makes preserving - and building on -  the caps all the more critical. 

Spending at slightly lower rates now will pay off with compounding savings in the long term. On the other hand, eliminating the discretionary caps make it unlikely that spending will otherwise be brought under control, risking our future economic prosperity and with it our national security.


Brandon Arnold
Executive Vice President
National Taxpayers Union

Steve Ellis
Vice President
Taxpayers for Common Sense

Download file L17 09-13 TCS-NTU Cotton NDAA Amd Coalition Letter