Arrington proposes trillions in spending cuts in new 10-year federal budget

House Budget Committee resolution, titled “Reverse the Curse,” purports to balance the federal budget with a small surplus and reduce national debt by 2033.
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 10:57 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Lubbock) calls Wednesday afternoon’s party-line vote in the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill his greatest achievement in his congressional career. It advanced a budget resolution for the first time in five years, one Arrington claims will balance the federal budget by 2033.

“While I’ve been a part of some big things, some important things for the country,” he said Thursday morning, “this is the one I’ve led as the chairman of the Budget Committee.”

Chairman Arrington’s proposal is titled “Reverse the Curse,” hearkening back to President Madison (1809 - 1817) calling a public debt a public curse. He said it felt especially appropriate in a week where the nation’s debt crossed the $33 trillion threshold for the first time ever.

“We are growing this government,” he said, “and we are massing a debt that we’re going to put on the backs of our children instead of paying for the things that we need to pay for.”

Here are some of the highlights:

  • $4.6 trillion in savings over 10 years by reducing federal spending to 1% growth annually after 2022 levels;
  • Dismantles the “Inflation Reduction Act”;
  • Rolls back $57 billion in Obamacare subsidy expansion;
  • Repeals student loan forgiveness and related provisions, saving taxpayers $580 billion;
  • Achieves $8.7 trillion of savings over 10 years with Medicaid and Medicare reform;
  • Strengthens works requirements for ablebodied Medicaid and Food Stamp recipients;
  • Reduces improper payments by 50 percent, achieving $1 trillion in savings over 10 years;
  • Saves $3 trillion in net interest payments over 10 years.

The budget proposal also calls for what the chairman calls “pro-growth policies” -- red meat for Republicans, like reducing taxes and regulations on middle- and upper-class “job creators,” as well as the oil and gas industry, expanding American trade revenue, and pushing more people into the labor force.

Currently, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects two percent growth annually; if his budget’s priorities are met, Congressman Arrington predicts that could be as much as three or four percent, meaning up to $6 trillion in additional deficit reduction. This is called “macroeconomic feedback” in the budget proposal, something House Democrats blast as funny, convenient math -- “budget sorcery.”

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA), the ranking member on the Budget Committee, calls it “a dark vision of America,” targeting and abandoning marginalized populations.

“It’s important for people to realize what the real life impacts would look like of $13 trillion in cuts that are included here in this budget,” Rep. Boyle said during the committee’s markup Wednesday.

Speaking with KCBD Thursday, Arrington acknowledged the most difficult part of balancing the federal budget is addressing mandatory health spending. His prpoosal includes nearly $2 trillion in savings in that category, which includes Medicaid and Medicare. Arrington insists this proposal would not affect those benefits, those for Social Security recipients or anyone who gets care from the VA.

Instead, the “Reverse the Curse” resolution calls for the creation of a bipartisan commission to address entitlement reform in the long term, specifically addressing deficit spending while also making Medicare and Medicaid solvent beyond 2030. Chairman Arrington likened it to the 1983 Social Security deal between President Reagan and then-House Speaker Tip O’Neill, a bipartisan agreement that created the Greenspan Commission and ended up breathing 45 years of life into the then-teetering safety net.

“The only practical way to solve those problems is to get both parties together,” Arrington said. “No party, Republican or Democrat, by itself will be able to do that in those big and important safety net programs.”

It’s important to note this budget proposal does not allocate or appropriate money, that is left up to another committee; instead, it functions as a blueprint, guard rails, limits, and policy priorities for Congress to use throughout the funding process. If the House approves Rep. Arrington’s proposal, it will likely face fierce opposition in the Senate and end up in a head-to-head conference with President Biden’s own budget proposal.

It is also important to note this budget proposal is unrelated to the ongoing appropriations disputes and the threat of a government shutdown looming at the end of September.

At this point, it’s unclear whether House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will advance the legislation to the floor.