Of the $100 billion in spending cuts in H.R. 1, the Continuing Resolution (CR), some are big, others are small, but all are vital reductions that help our nation regain its financial footing. In some cases, the bill simply seeks to eliminate entire programs or blocks of funding. In others, the bill takes a more complex approach and prohibits agencies from spending taxpayer dollars to carry out certain policies.
We find a great example of the simple cut in section 1529, which eliminates funding for the President’s “Unanticipated Needs” fund. Unknown to most people, the President has been given $1 million annually to “meet unanticipated needs for the furtherance of the national interest.” Only after the money is spent does the President have to report where the money went. Spend now, and ask for forgiveness later? Not in this bill. Interpreted in English, this is a Presidential slush fund—a prime candidate for waste and abuse—and a no-brainer spending cut for a nation with a $14 trillion debt.
Then there’s the more complex spending cut that would prevent the enforcement of a particular program or regulation. Section 1746 enters those waters, as it prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using any taxpayer dollars to enforce regulations based on concerns about climate change. For starters, this section seeks to prevent the EPA from imposing the infamous cap-and-trade regulation scheme on America. Such a national energy tax was a key policy initiative of President Obama, but, since it was defeated in Congress, the EPA has taken steps to skip the legislative process and simply decree that the President’s policy is law.
Fans of democracy will be pleased to know that H.R. 1 puts the EPA back in its place of public servitude. The language of Section 1746 blocks the EPA from using tax dollars to even promote the idea of regulations based on climate change. In other words, if the section becomes law, not one finger can be lawfully lifted in the EPA to support cap-and-trade or any other regulation rooted in the questionable science of climate change. In preventing extensive climate regulation, we achieve savings by limiting government activity, but also stand to increase government revenue by empowering businesses to grow and make more money.
So as Congress begins the task of conquering our $14 trillion debt, H.R. 1 marks Congress’s first trip to the budget chopping block in years. It’s been reported that the $100 billion in cuts is the largest one-year reduction in history. Even so, we clearly have an enormous hill to climb before our government is financially stable and fiscally responsible. To get there, Congress must take an indiscriminate approach to spending cuts, where we pick the low-hanging fruit like million-dollar slush funds, but also tackle the regulatory agencies that threaten to act as drain on profits and a drag on economic growth.
Representative Tom Graves represents Georgia’s Ninth Congressional District.
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