WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) announced its opposition to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The act would not only suspend the debt ceiling for two years, but also raise the spending caps established by the 2011 Budget Control Act by another $80 billion. The amount would be split into $50 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2016 and another $30 billion in FY 2017, which respectively represent a 4.5 percent increase and a 2.7 percent increase over the $1.11 trillion in FY 2015 discretionary spending. Both increases would be equally split between defense and non-defense, yet there has been no explanation as to why this amount of money is needed nor any details about how and where it will be spent. It appears to be another random figure that has been cooked up to satisfy demands for increased spending on both defense and non-defense programs.
The Bipartisan Budget Act is the latest in a long line of last-minute, backroom deals that end up costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. The spending goes up but the planned offsets fall short. This agreement is particularly frustrating since Congress agreed to a FY 2016 budget resolution that stayed within the existing caps and then failed to pass or even consider all of the appropriations bills. The House passed six of the 12 bills and the Senate considered only one, which was blocked by Democrats.
CCAGW President Tom Schatz said, “I agree with Paul Ryan that the budget process that led to this point stinks. It is unacceptable for Congress to again and again fail to finish its basic budget work on time and then work out a backroom deal to rationalize increased spending. Rather than twisting itself into a pretzel inventing fiscal gimmicks to offset raising the caps, Congress can easily find a few pennies’ worth of waste in order to stay within them. Hundreds of billions of dollars in government waste, fraud, abuse, duplication, and mismanagement have been identified in CAGW’s Prime Cuts 2015, countless Government Accountability Office reports and Office of Inspector General audits, and commonsense legislation such as the Unified Savings and Accountability (USA) Act.”
There are a few provisions of this proposal that CCAGW applauds, including the elimination of the ability for people to “double dip” by receiving both unemployment and disability payments simultaneously, and the auctioning of government-owned spectrum for commercial use. But any savings from such “offsets” should be used to reduce the deficit rather than increase spending.
Schatz added, “Now that the higher budget numbers have been established, House and Senate leaders must bring the rest of the appropriations bills to the floor individually and permit fiscal conservatives to offer amendments to cut spending sufficiently to stay within the existing budget caps.”
The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.