The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington, D.C.-based think tank, released a proposal Monday designed to eliminate the deficit, if interest on the debt is not factored in, within seven years.
The budget blueprint calls for $1.3 trillion in tax cuts over the course of a decade, the elimination of the Affordable Care Act – which according to their calculations would save $47 billion in fiscal year 2017 alone – and reducing government spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years, while still fully funding the military.
The organization also proposed reforming the budget process and shifting the Federal Reserve toward “rules-based policies.”
“The GOP gained control of Congress by promising the American people a different, more responsible fiscal course. That clearly hasn’t happened with the CBO now predicting even more debt – an additional $9.4 trillion in the next decade alone,” said Paul Winfree, director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, said in a statement. “’Blueprint for Balance’ defines a clear path toward greater fiscal responsibility. Our plan would cut the FY17 deficit by over $400 billion and bring the budget into balance by 2023. It does this by driving down spending, without raising taxes or weakening our national defense.”
The plan includes major reforms to the welfare system and entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Heritage said by raising the age of eligibility for Social Security and transitioning payments to “a flat, anti-poverty benefit” for those who need in most, in addition to adjusting cost of living using a chained consumer price index would save $500 billion by 2026.
“A federal budget should reflect the principles of the American people. Those principles include a commitment to economic freedom, religious liberty, equal treatment under law, federalism and a strong national defense. Our ‘Blueprint for Balance’ not only embraces those principles and values, but champions them,” Winfree said. “Congress should follow through on their promises to the American people and act on the bold reforms we have outlined. Ensuring once again that our economy will offer opportunity for all and favoritism to none.”
The House Budget Committee said it will release their budget, which is slated to include several options for mandatory savings, in March.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has made restoring regular order to the budget process a priority, and has called on Congress to pass a budget at the spending levels agreed upon by former House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama last October to avoid another omnibus spending bill.
Conservative lawmakers have voiced their discontent with the increased spending levels in the bill passed last fall, calling for steeper spending cuts to avoid increasing the deficit.
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