BUDGET DIGEST: Members’ Day Hearing

What is Members’ Day? Section 301(e)(1) of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (Budget Act) calls for the House and Senate Budget Committees to “receive testimony from Members of Congress” in the process of developing the annual budget resolution. This practice, commonly referred to as Members’ Day, provides Members of Congress an open forum to discuss issues of personal importance related to the budget resolution for the upcoming fiscal year. On Thursday, February 27th, the House Budget Committee will hold its annual Members’ Day hearing.

Why Does it Matter? It is the responsibility of the House Budget Committee to craft a fiscally responsible budget that addresses the key driver of our deficits — mandatory spending — and puts the country on a sustainable path going forward. Unfortunately, the Democrat Majority failed to produce a budget resolution in 2019 and is unlikely to do so again this year. Furthermore, several Democrat members are proposing new, budget-busting legislation that would exacerbate the fiscal crisis we face by drastically increasing mandatory spending and adding to our overwhelming debt.

In order to craft a responsible budget plan that addresses the diverse needs of our nation, Congress must make the difficult, yet fundamentally necessary, decisions about spending and confront head-on the fiscal and economic challenges we face. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), deficits will total $13.1 trillion and the national debt held by the public will rise to $31.4 trillion over the next decade if Congress does not act. In his written testimony on the budget and economic outlook before the House Budget Committee last month, CBO Director Phillip Swagel warned: “Such a significant increase in federal borrowing would also elevate the risk of a fiscal crisis.” Director Swagel concluded that “…changes in fiscal policy must be made to address the budget situation, because our debt is growing on an unsustainable path.”[1] Washington clearly has a spending problem — particularly a mandatory spending problem — not a revenue problem. While CBO projects revenue growth to be strong over the next decade, out-of-control mandatory spending, which already consumes 70 percent of all federal spending, is projected to grow to 76 percent by 2030.

Lawmakers should use this hearing as an opportunity to express the urgent need for the Democrat Majority to fulfill their constitutional duty and produce a budget resolution that puts our nation on a fiscally sustainable path. Members who are interested in participating in Members’ Day should consult the Committee’s Dear Colleague letter.

[1] https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/2020-01/56064-CBO-Testimony-Outlook-HBC.pdf.

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