National Taxpayers Union's Views on H.J. Res. 59

Dear Members of Congress:

The Continuing Resolution (CR), H.J. Res 59, crafted by House Republican leadership creates a feasible framework for providing short-term funding for the government; yet several provisions will require the vigilance of taxpayers. National Taxpayers Union (NTU) offers the following comments on the CR and will continue to pay close attention to the appropriations process as it unfolds.

NTU is concerned that the CR would put the federal government on a path to spend $986.3 billion in discretionary budget authority for fiscal year 2014.  If continued for the remainder of the Fiscal Year, this would exceed the post-sequester cap of $967 billion established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). Because the resolution would only apply through mid-December, the CR does not technically violate the budget caps; however, it almost certainly will make it more difficult for Congress to abide by these limits.  It is critical for Congress to reduce spending in accordance with the BCA, as NTU and 11 other free market groups stated in a June 12 letter to House Leadership. NTU strongly urges Congress to keep the BCA caps in place and spend no more than $967 billion in Fiscal Year 2014.

The CR also wisely gives the House of Representatives an opportunity to vote to defund the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.”  The inclusion of this provision satisfies the request made by NTU and dozens of other free market groups in a coalition letter sent to Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor on July 29.  Some have understandably criticized the legislative procedure the House will utilize, which would only allow the CR to be delivered to the Senate if the upper chamber first votes on the health care provision. Whether one cares to describe this approach as novel or evasive, it would achieve a desirable effect: forcing the Senate to take an up-or-down vote on an important issue. NTU strongly urges Congress to continue efforts to defund, delay and repeal Obamacare.

While the CR does not represent a major victory for taxpayers, it at least tacitly acknowledges the importance of maintaining the BCA discretionary spending caps and relieving Americans of the heavy burden of the President’s disastrous health care law.  On behalf of our 362,000 members, NTU hopes Congress will take more aggressive action to protect the BCA spending caps and repeal Obamacare.

Brandon Arnold
Vice President of Government Affairs