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Capital Hill Watch Alert

Senate to Vote On Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314)

The House of Representatives passed on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, on a 266 to 167 vote (To view how your representative voted visit:  579  (H.R. 1314; Text of Legislation ) a measure that is the expected vehicle for the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.  The Senate will convene on Thursday, October 29, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. and following leaders remarks will resume consideration of the House of Representatives message to accompany H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.  A vote is expected at any time.  However, U.S. Senator of Kentucky Rand Paul (R) on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, said that he plans to filibuster the bill.  However, limited are his chances of slowing down the bill's passage.  For example, by refusing to allow leaders to cut off debate before the maximum 30 hours allowed under Senate rules have expired is the most Senator Paul can briefly do to delay the final vote.  And prior to the bill's being able to be approved by a simple majority, the agreement will have to clear one procedural hurdle with at least 60 votes.

Big Government Spending Budget Deal

Tragically, Republican leadership has surrendered to President Barack Obama a budget deal that is a two fiscal year agreement that fully funds his budget priorities.  The budget plan is a catalog of underhanded gimmicks that raises the debt ceiling by about $1 trillion with no mandate to reduce future debt.  For example, for off-budget "Overseas Contingency Operations" "emergency" spending for military operations and projects such as the refugee crises in Africa and the Mideast the plan authorizes more than $30 billion.  This does not show up in the federal budget accounts because Congress doesn't count this as spending.  Also, through front-loading spending and back-loading savings $100 billion will be spent now however almost 50 percent of the "pay- fors" are until after 2022 postponed. The bill would allow for the selling off of 266 million barrels of oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) over the next decade, mostly to fund more government spending. The SPR original purpose was to hold the oil in reserve for the days when supply is constrained and gas prices soar.  However, with oil at its lowest price in nearly ten years and a government that purchased the oil at $60 and sells it at $45 what is the point of selling it now?  Five billion in revenue would result from the sales of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve.  The government could end up drawing on down on oil supplies meant for emergency situations to finance health care, highway funding and more big government programs.

In the next two years, healthcare spending would increase by nearly $6.5 billion, to prevent some Medicare beneficiaries from seeing their premiums increase under the deal. However, spending would be cut by even more by changes in payments to some providers over the next eight years.  And according to the Congressional Budget Office spending over 10 years would decrease by $6.3 billion altogether.

By tightening eligibility for disability insurance benefits and increasing penalties for fraud in the program the plan would see $4.4 billion in Social Security savings.   By shifting money from the Social Security trust fund, the plan would save the nearly insolvent Social Security Disability Insurance program.

In exchange for flimsy promises of cuts in future years, Congress is blowing the lid off the budget by letting spending grow by nearly $500 billion over two years. Last year the GOP and President Obama broke their own caps that they pledged to keep those limits for ten years which lasted for only nine months.   In 2016, federal spending was already expected to climb by more than $250 billion or close to $1 billion extra spending daily. And in a year when inflation is running at slightly less than two percent, this would be a six percent increase in outlays.   Since Speaker of the House John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) made his first spending deal with President Barack Obama in 2011, the federal debt has increased by $3.97 trillion which equals $33,832.64 for every household in the United States. 

Expected to grow by another trillion over the next decade and ravaging the federal budget are entitlement programs, and reforms in such programs would be a common sense approach. However, not a replacement but on top of the budget caps and sequester these reforms should be.  And the government is expected to continue borrowing between a half billion and $1 trillion annually even with the caps.  And what is tragic for future generations is that President Obama will not have to ask for another debt limit increase before he leaves office  even though he has already increased the debt by about $7 trillion.  Unfortunately, the American voter does not believe that Republicans that control the Senate and the House of Representatives will suddenly start rediscovering fiscal solemnity in the future when they cannot currently reduce the size of a big bloated federal government.

Additional Reading : 

Budget office: Deal would boost deficit

If Congress Won't Cut Spending Now, When Will It?

Obama, GOP Want To Sell Off 40 Percent Of US Strategic Oil Reserves To Fund Gov't Programs

Stephen Moore: This Budget Is No Deal, It's A Spending Spree

Boehner-Obama Spending Deals Have Increased Debt $3,970,023,503,348.07

What Can You Do?

Urge your senators  TO NOT SUPPORT  the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314). The budget deal was done in a speedy and secretive process that gave House of Representatives members less than 48 hours to read the bill.  Congress is borrowing money and spending it on too many unnecessary big government programs that puts the federal government's financial future at risk and burdens current and future generation with massive debt and a bleak economic prospects.      

Contact Information:  

To go to your senators' websites, find their E-mail or to find out who your senators are... http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm     

Addressing Correspondence: 

The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510   

Dear Senator (last name):  

 

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