By Molly K. Hooper -The Hill
Key members of the conservative Republican Study Committee introduced a bill to make good on their pledge to â€œcut, cap and balanceâ€ federal spending.
RSC Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) endorsed the bill submitted Friday by top-ranking GOP appropriator Rep. Jack Kingston (Ga.) that would cap spending at 18 percent of GDP.
â€œItâ€™s simple, spend what you take in. What the RSC is bringing forward is a cut, cap and balance approach: cut spending significantly in 2012, cap spending in the midterm, and long-term do a balanced budget that will actually be a game changer,â€ Jordan said at a press conference led by Kingston on Friday.
Kingston explained that his legislation â€œsimply says that revenues and spending will be coordinated as a percentage of GDP â€“ it balances the budget within five years.â€
Fellow appropriations committee Reps. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Tom Graves (R-Ga.) spoke in favor of Kingstonâ€™s spending cap proposal, that they said would require the government to live within its means.
Kingstonâ€™s bill does not specify which cuts to make to discretionary and mandatory spending.
Graves explained â€œit creates a box that the government has to operate within … thatâ€™s the best way to illustrate it: you set the confinements, the boundaries; weâ€™re not talking about whatâ€™s in that box … but whatever you can fit inside that box is fine â€“ but the box is only so big, and over the next five years continues to shrink over time until you get down to 18 percent.â€
Even sacred defense programs could be slashed if Congress failed to make cuts elsewhere, Flake said.
Flake, a vociferous fiscal hawk, explained â€œthat allows individuals who think that we shouldnâ€™t cut defense at all to come in and make cuts
elsewhere, if they donâ€™t then weâ€™ll see across the board cuts; those cuts come, automatic rescissions if government fails to hit its
spending targets â€“ and if I know anything Congress will fail to hit its spending targets.â€
Kingtonâ€™s bill is one of several similar variations of measure that would cap federal spending. One measure in particular, sponsored by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on the other side of the Capitol, would cap spending at roughly 20 percent.
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