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Conservative group unveils plan to slash spending by $12 trillion

Conservative group unveils plan to slash spending by $12 trillion
© Greg Nash

The conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) on Wednesday unveiled a fiscal 2019 budget blueprint that would slash federal spending by $12 trillion over the next decade.

The 169-page RSC budget, dubbed “A Framework For Unified Conservatism,” comes as Republicans have faced growing criticism for exploding the federal deficit with the GOP tax-cut law and a massive government funding package earlier this year.

“We need to earn back the title as the adults in the room, the fiscal people who are responsible — not just for where we are today, but for decades to come,” RSC Chairman Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerDisasters become big chunk of U.S. deficit GOP lawmaker reports 'threatening' Twitter messages to police US and Canada working furiously to come to NAFTA agreement MORE (R-N.C.) said during a pen-and-pad session with reporters.

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The RSC offers its own budget blueprint every year to give fiscal hawks a more conservative alternative to whatever budget resolution the House Budget Committee puts forward. While the RSC’s austere budget plan stands little chance of being adopted by the full House, it typically at least gets a House floor vote to appease conservative members of the GOP conference.

But there are growing doubts on Capitol Hill about whether the GOP will adopt any budget resolution this year — something that Republicans repeatedly criticized Democrats for in the past.

“It would be an inexcusable dereliction of duty for the House Budget Committee to fail to produce a budget,” said Rep. Tom McClintockThomas (Tom) Milller McClintockHouse committee votes to relax Endangered Species Act Election Countdown: Takeaways from too-close-to-call Ohio special election | Trump endorsements cement power but come with risks | GOP leader's race now rated as 'toss-up' | Record numbers of women nominated | Latino candidates get prominent role in 2020 GOP scrambles to regain fiscal credibility with House budget MORE (R-Calif.), who heads up the RSC Budget and Spending Task Force. “I’m disappointed and embarrassed that it's not even begun that work.”

The RSC blueprint balances the budget in eight years, makes deeps cuts to mandatory and domestic spending programs, and overhauls entitlement programs, among other things.

The plan would actually boost defense spending, but it would incorporate a war account known as the overseas contingency operations account into the base defense budget in order to show the true cost of military spending.

The RSC framework also sets the stage to make the individual tax cuts in the GOP tax law permanent and lays the groundwork to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

It’s unclear whether the RSC budget will get a House floor vote this year, especially if the Budget Committee does not produce its own budget. 

But Walker said the RSC will use any tools at its disposal to push for elements of the plan — and that could include asking any candidate running to replace Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcCarthy introduces bill to fully fund Trump's border wall On The Money: McCarthy offers bill to fully fund Trump border wall | US to press China on currency in trade talks | Mnuchin plans to go ahead with Saudi trip | How America's urban-rural divide is changing the Dems Election Countdown: Minnesota Dems worry Ellison allegations could cost them key race | Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters | Takeaways from Tennessee Senate debate | Poll puts Cruz up 9 in Texas MORE (R-Wis.) to make pledges to fiscal responsibility.

“It is not past the RSC ... to sit down and say, if you’re asking for our support [for Speaker], I believe it’s well within our right to say, we want you to promise us that you are going to adhere to certain levels of fiscal responsibility,” Walker said.