Coalition Urges Milcon Conferees Not to Bust Spending Caps

Heather Higgins

The undersigned organizations, on behalf of millions of Americans, write to urge conferees to H.R. 5895, the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act (or “Minibus”), to reject any attempt to increase discretionary spending above the caps agreed to by Congress only five months ago.

As reported by Senate and House Appropriations Committees, the underlying text of H.R. 5895 did not contain funding for the “VA Mission Act,” aimed at improving veteran healthcare and signed into law only a day before the House took up its VA funding bill. We are concerned that some lawmakers have made no secret of their desire to completely exempt additional spending for the VA Mission Act from the still-in-force budget caps by putting this funding off-budget, or to increase the already amended caps.

The budget request made by the Administration for FY19 funding accommodated these VA reforms without exceeding the budget caps. This demonstrates that if Members of Congress are willing to accept tradeoffs and reprioritize spending, it is unnecessary to resort to budget gimmicks or increased spending.

If conferees pursue a course of action that includes this increased spending, without reductions elsewhere, this puts pressure on other discretionary appropriations - many of which have already crossed the House floor - to relieve the pressure or risk violating the budget caps. In the same way, exempting this spending from the caps would further undermine the goals of fiscal restraint and accountability.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts that deficits could soar above $1 trillion by 2020, only a year and a half away. As we move further into a growing fiscal crisis, we urge Congress to reject any appropriations that exceed the budget caps or further erode this accountability tool.

 

Sincerely,

Brandon Arnold, Executive Vice President

National Taxpayers Union

 

Dan Caldwell, Executive Director

Concerned Veterans for America

 

Brent Wm. Gardner, Chief Government Affairs Officer

Americans for Prosperity

 

Tim Chapman, Executive Director

Heritage Action for America

 

Adam Brandon, President

FreedomWorks

 

Norm Singleton, President

Campaign for Liberty

 

Andrew F. Quinlan, President

Center for Freedom and Prosperity

 

Jonathan Bydlak, President

Coalition to Reduce Spending

 

Tom Schatz, President

Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

 

Matt Kibbe, President

Free the People

 

Heather R. Higgins, President & CEO

Independent Women’s Voice

 

Ryan Alexander, President

Taxpayers for Common Sense

 

David Williams, President

Taxpayers Protection Alliance



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