Republicans in the House are supposed to control the big spenders in the Senate and the White House. But by agreeing to the Ryan-Murray budget, they’ve destroyed the savings won through the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA). If House Republicans did nothing, the BCA capped discretionary spending at $967 billion in 2014. The Ryan-Murray deal increases it to $1.012 trillion-a $45 billion increase in 2014. And that’s only the beginning as Cato expert Chris Edwards explains here:
On paper, the new budget deal only lifts current spending caps for 2014 and 2015, and the caps in later years remain in place. The problem is that appropriators of both parties never sleep; they are not going to go into hibernation for the next decade contented with current spending limits.
Instead, it’s a sporting challenge for appropriators to try and raise spending every single year. The ten-year numbers mean nothing to them — especially now that they know Republican leaders will probably cave in easily next time. That’s why Rep. Paul Ryan’s comment yesterday that the new deal “reduces the deficit” is meaningless.
The deal does not reduce the deficit this year — it hikes it $45 billion, give or take some change in the unlikely event first-year savings do materialize.
If this deal is enacted, a precedent will have been set, and the big spenders in both parties will sadly gain even more clout going into future budget negotiations. Blowing through existing budget caps by $45 billion this year could set the stage for spending hundreds of billions of dollars more over the coming decade.