In bid for Appropriations gavel, Rep. Kingston calls for mandatory spending caps

In an attempt to seal his bid to be the next chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) on Tuesday will tell the Republican Steering Committee that the next Congress must “destroy the spending infrastructure” with tough spending caps, according to a draft copy of his PowerPoint presentation.

Kingston is campaigning for the spot against Appropriations ranking member Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.). The Steering Committee could vote as early as Tuesday on who gets the gavel.

The centerpiece of Kingston’s pitch to the Steering Committee is a proposal to revive the fixed-target budgetary approach taken in the 1980s under the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act.

In the presentation, Kingston says he wants to eventually cap federal outlays at 18 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). That is below the draft proposal from the chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, who this month proposed capping spending at 21 percent of GDP.

As with Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, Kingston’s proposal would automatically reduce funding through a “sequestration period in which OMB would make across‐the-board spending cuts if Congress fails to achieve the spending caps.”

Kingston would go beyond the 1980s law by exempting only the interest on the debt from sequestration, whereas Gramm‐Rudman exempted for many social welfare programs.

Jennifer Hing, a communications director for Lewis, called the leak of the presentation “premature.” The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page praised Kingston’s presentation on Monday.