NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 8294, the six-bill fiscal year (FY) 2023 appropriations minibus legislation. Based on NTU’s estimates, this legislation would spend $49 billion, or 14 percent, more than the identical six bills from FY 2022. More drastic spending increase proposals seem likely to come given this six-bill minibus represents only 24 percent of all discretionary spending in the current fiscal year. Lawmakers should instead look for ways to reduce discretionary spending relative to FY 2022 enacted levels, and should re-establish multi-year discretionary spending caps.
H.R. 8294 covers FY 2023 appropriations for six of the 12 regular discretionary spending bills – Agriculture, Energy and Water, Financial Services and General Government, Interior and Environment, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. Appropriations Committee members have added $49 billion in spending to these six bills relative to FY 2022 enacted levels, and $11 billion in spending relative to President Biden’s FY 2023 budget request. At a time of record federal debt and trillion-dollar deficits, now is the worst time to propose increasing spending by tens of billions of dollars.
Taxpayers are likely to see even more concerning spending efforts from Congress going forward. Congress has already signaled its approval for a $37 billion increase to the House’s defense authorization bill relative to President Biden’s defense budget request (and a $68 billion increase relative to FY 2022 enacted levels, excluding emergency defense funding). The House Appropriations Committee has approved a $28.5 billion increase relative to FY 2022 for the second-largest appropriations bill: Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, which is not included in this six-bill minibus. All of these efforts could add up to more than $150 billion in new spending relative to FY 2022 enacted levels (excluding emergency appropriations).
This is unacceptable. Lawmakers should reject these appropriations bills, short of amendments that significantly curtail spending in the legislation relative to current draft levels and to FY 2022 enacted levels. Looking forward, Congress should also enact new, multi-year discretionary spending caps like the flawed but still meaningful caps that existed under the Budget Control Act of 2011. The irresponsible proposals of the past two years demonstrate that Congress needs discretionary spending discipline.
Roll call votes on H.R. 8294 will be significantly weighted in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “NO” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.
If you have any questions, please contact NTU Director of Federal Policy Andrew Lautz at firstname.lastname@example.org.