Dems see GOP budget reforms as ‘sneaky’ way to cut spending

The second bill would require the Congressional Budget Office to analyze the macroeconomic effect of budget bills as part of its regular duties.

Democrats said the bill ending the assumed inflation increases would make it much easier for Republicans to cut federal programs.

This technical change, then, is actually a backdoor effort to slowly starve necessary government programs rather than be up front about which programs Republicans want to eliminate, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said. They would rather put sneaky rules into place to guarantee the outcome they want, without having to have an open debate.

Hastings added that preventing inflation increases would hurt programs by forcing them to provide fewer services each year.

Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) charged that the second bill is meant to help Republicans argue that tax cuts would promote economic growth and lead to more federal revenue, an argument Democrats have rejected.

If the Republican religion is that tax cuts always produce more revenue, I dont think we should write that religion into the law of the country, because its not always right, he said.

Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) defended both bills, and said the Baseline Reform Act in particular would help Congress rein in exploding budgets. Like other Republicans, Woodall said voters are tired of increases in spending being treated as spending cuts just because spending levels fall below a baseline that automatically grows each year.

Only here in Washington … can we spend $10 last year and $12 next year and call that a budget cut,” he said. Only here. The Baseline Reform Act eliminates that.

Following brief debate, the House approved a rule governing debate for both bills, in a 238-179 vote. Only three Democrats voted for the rule. The House was expected to start work on the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act and related amendments after the rule vote.

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