I have long believed that Congress has a responsibility to the American people to “rein in” wasteful and excessive spending. Since joining Congress, I have not voted for a debt ceiling bill that did not include cuts or reforms to our spending practices.
When House Republicans established the rules for the 118th Congress earlier this year, I worked to get the Holman Rule included in the rules package. First passed in 1876, the Holman rule is a tool that can be used to curb out-of-control federal spending.
A high national debt stemming from out-of-control spending means high interest, higher inflation, and lower job opportunities. Never have we felt the effects of a high debt than this past year.
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congressional Democrats passed $5.2 trillion in spending, much of which was not put towards COVID-19, but towards other Democratic priorities, such as the Green New Deal.
As it stands, the debt is now at $31.4 trillion. It’s clear the path we are on is no longer tenable. For too many years, Congress has raised the debt ceiling without a plan to rein in reckless spending.
House Republicans recently put forth H.R.2811, the Limit, Save, Grow Act, to address this issue, which passed on the House floor days before writing this column.
H.R.2811 limits federal spending by capping spending, for fiscal year (FY) 2024, at FY 2022 levels. It also allows for only 1% annual growth over the next 10 years.
The legislation includes a number of measures to save taxpayer money. It claws back unspent COVID-19 funds, estimated to be about $30 billion.
It eliminates funding for the 87,000 new IRS agents charged with going after families and small businesses.
Further the bill reverses Biden’s efforts to cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt for some borrowers. This would save taxpayers an estimated $460 billion.
Lastly, this legislation repeals Democrats’ uncapped green energy tax credits and subsidies, saving Americans an estimated $540 billion.
While saving money, this legislation also aims to grow the economy.
A few weeks prior to the House passing this legislation, we also passed H.R.1, the Lower Energy Costs Act. This legislation would unleash American energy production, reduce our dependency on foreign adversaries like Russia and China, and remove red tape for new project permitting.
Given the importance of improving energy production in the United States, Republicans also have included that legislative language within H.R.2811 to help ensure it gets across the finish line.
Additionally, this bill will strengthen work requirements for Medicaid and SNAP program recipients, requiring these recipients to “work” 80 hours a month. Work is defined as traditional work, of course, but also as volunteering to do community service, taking classes to further one’s education, attending a substance abuse program, etc.
The bill includes some exemption to these requirements, including if you are disabled, caring for a disabled child, or are caring for a child under the age of six. The goal is to get abled-bodied people off the couch and into the workforce, making them a contributing member of society, which will ultimately lead to a higher level of self-esteem. Further, the country is currently faced with more job openings than people looking for jobs, so this is not an unreasonable proposal.
In exchange for fixing the most immediate problem and increasing the debt limit by $1.5 trillion, the legislation will save Americans an estimated $4.8 trillion over the next decade.
As an aside, there been a focus on the future of Medicare & Medicaid and Social Security and whether the programs would face cuts. The spending cuts in this legislation were crafted to save Americans trillions of dollars without touching Medicare & Medicaid and Social Security.
But wait there’s more. Also included in this legislation is the REINS Act. The REINS Act requires every new “major rule” proposed by federal agencies to be approved Congress, reasserting Congress’ legislative authority as intended by our Constitutional framework.
H.R.2811 is responsible legislation to rein in our country’s out of control spending, while also dealing with our current debt limit situation, benefitting all Americans.
– Congressman Morgan Griffith