House GOP unveils $1.1tn budget with major cuts, tax reforms & increased defense spending

House GOP unveils $1.1tn budget with major cuts, tax reforms & increased defense spending
House Republicans have released their 2018 budget proposal, which they say will balance over the next decade by cutting billions in spending for programs such as Medicaid and Social Security while overhauling the tax code.

On Tuesday, the House Budget Committee released their Building a Better America budget blueprint for the fiscal year 2018.

The committee laid out their plan in five steps: balancing the budget within 10 years, promoting economic growth by reducing regulations and reforming the tax code, strengthening national defense through increased spending, returning power back to the states and reforming government programs.

"We believe that these five principles, put into practice, will help us build a better America we can be proud to leave to future generations," House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black (R-Tennessee) wrote in an op-ed for USA Today Tuesday.

The Republicans point to the national debt reaching nearly $20 trillion at this point. They also referred to projections from the CBO which forecasts that the debt will continue to grow, reaching $30 trillion by 2027 under the current system.

“The status quo is unsustainable. A mounting national debt and lackluster economic growth will limit opportunity for people all across the country. But we don’t have to accept this reality,” Black said in a statement, according to the Hill.

Republicans hope to reduce the budget by making the largest cuts to nondefense discretionary spending since the ‘90s. The House plan calls for a minimum of $203 billion in mandatory cuts and reforms to programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

"Balancing the budget requires us to begin changing the culture in Washington and addressing mandatory spending,” Black said in her op-ed. “This moment in history demands guts and political leadership, because without it, our country is heading for financial ruin caused by our national debt. Building a Better America makes the tough choices that get our country back on track.”

The plan calls for 11 House committees to submit changes in laws that would reduce the deficit. It would also allow states to control funds in areas such as health care, welfare, environmental regulation, education, workforce development, and transportation.

The bill claims that the states are “best suited to address the individual needs of their citizens and communities.”

The proposal also recommends repealing several environmental and financial regulations, which the blueprint said are a burden to small business.

Specifically, the budget proposal mentions the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms, calling it “foolhardy and counterproductive.”

However, defense spending under the budget proposal would steadily increase over the next ten years. The House proposals calls for $621.5 billion in base funding for the national defense budget for 2018, which is up more than $70 billion from the 2017 fiscal year.

Additionally, the budget calls for $511 billion in nondefense discretionary spending and $75 billion for the global war on terror.

“Over the last eight years, we’ve seen a weakening of our military potential and readiness,” Black said. “Our budget seeks to change that dynamic by significantly increasing our spending on national defense so that we can provide our men and women in uniform with the resources they need to face the growing threats around the globe.”

The Ways and Mean Committee is drafting the Republican tax reform bill, but the budget instructs Congress to pass deficit-neutral tax reform that would simplify the tax code.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) called the current tax code “too confusing” and “too expensive.”

“We want to simplify the tax code and bring down rates to give people real relief and real peace of mind. And to set the stage for tax reform, we’re working on a balanced budget,” Ryan said in a statement Tuesday.

The budget also calls for Congress to lower tax rates, consolidate tax brackets, repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax, reduce the corporate tax rate and transform the tax code from a “worldwide” system to a “territorial” system.

Under a territorial tax system, the federal government would only tax domestic income of a corporation, exempting most or all of their foreign income.

The budget, which was released hours after the GOP health care bill crashed, still assumes the reforms included in the House plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, which Republicans shunned after two senators announced their objection to the bill Monday.

The House Budget Committee is set to vote on the resolution Wednesday, where it will likely pass. The proposal would then be sent to the House, where Republicans must pass the resolution in order to use a budget tool called “reconciliation,” which would allow them to pass a tax code with a simple majority. Otherwise, they would need to gain the support of several Democrats.

“Through reconciliation, our budget specifically paves the way for deficit neutral tax reform that will unleash the American economy,” Black wrote in her op-ed.

Democrats were quick to criticize the budget proposal, with Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Kentucky), the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, calling the proposal “even crueler than the Trump Budget.”

“This is a budget that sets our country and its citizens up for failure,” Yarmuth said in a statement released Tuesday. “It is a total abdication of the responsibility we have to the people we serve and it should be rejected.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) called the budget proposal “toxic.”

“Under the Republican budget, seniors, children and working families will struggle while billionaires get more and more tax breaks,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The budget is a statement of values. Republicans’ budget shows they do not value the success of hard-working Americans.”

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said the proposal was “not a serious budget, and it ought not to be treated as such.”

He went on to urge Republicans to “set aside their duplicitous, draconian budget and work with Democrats to put America back on a sound fiscal path through bipartisan actions.”