House rejects conservative budget in a 132-294 vote

Budget, Republican Study Committee
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The House rejected a far more conservative version of the GOP budget on Wednesday in a 132-294 vote.

The Republican Study Committee’s budget would balance in five years and cut $7.1 trillion in spending over the next decade. A total of 112 Republicans voted against the measure, along with all of the chamber’s Democrats.

{mosads}The budget vision put forward by the RSC would cut spending far more sharply than the official House GOP budget, which would trim spending by $5.5 trillion in the same time frame and balance in nine years.

“We in Congress have an obligation to the American people to live within our means and to be trustworthy stewards of taxpayer dollars,” said RSC Chairman Bill Flores (R-Texas).

While Democrats argued the RSC budget would be more extreme, they said it had one redeeming quality: it accounted for defense spending.

The House GOP budget increases defense spending by boosting a war account known as the overseas contingency operations (OCO) account. That fund isn’t subject to budgetary ceilings under a 2011 law, unlike the base defense budget.

The RSC alternative would allocate a base budget of $570 billion for defense, which is more than the House GOP’s $523 billion. It would further provide nearly $51 billion for the Pentagon’s war fund.

“This is the committee-adopted budget on steroids,” said Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.). “While I am opposed to this budget, I have to commend the Republican Study Committee for putting it on the table here in a very transparent manner.”

In past years, Democrats voted “present” on the RSC budget to cause scrambling among Republicans to make sure it didn’t actually pass. But Democrats opted to simply vote “no” this year.

Meanwhile, the RSC budget would only provide $975 billion for discretionary government spending, which is lower than the top-line cap of $1.018 trillion established by sequestration.

A key provision of the RSC budget would repeal the 2010 healthcare reform law through a budget process tool known as reconciliation. It would also allow people to buy insurance across state lines.

In addition, it includes provisions to reform the welfare system by imposing work requirements for recipients of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The budget would further urge the House Agriculture Committee to craft legislation that would convert the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, into a block grant program run by states.

Democrats argue that turning SNAP into a block grant would reduce funding for it in the long term, because states wouldn’t automatically receive additional funds to accommodate increased demand. That would ultimately result in either static or reduced funding levels.

—Rebecca Shabad contributed. 

Tags 2016 budget Bill Flores Republican Study Committee
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