Washington, D.C. — In late May, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Republican leadership struck a deal with the Biden administration that set budget caps on annual defense and nondefense appropriations to avert default and suspend the debt limit. Yet House Republican appropriators have strayed from the negotiated deal, proposing deeper funding cuts and adding in new, extreme nonbudgetary “riders.” A new CAP report examines how these appropriators’ approach puts Congress on the path toward a government shutdown, while the Senate’s bipartisan approach better reflects the agreements made as part of the debt limit deal.
When the debt limit deal was made, it included tight budget caps for both discretionary defense funding and nondefense discretionary (NDD) funding. This new report examines three key ways the proposed House Republicans’ appropriations bills break the debt limit agreement:
- The top-line funding levels are significantly below the levels negotiated in the deal. The House-reported bills call for an additional $58 billion in cuts in NDD excluding Veterans Affairs medical care, which would leave it at the lowest level as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in at least 60 years.
- The rescissions go significantly beyond the deal. The House Republican appropriators call for $115 billion of rescissions, $94 billion beyond what negotiators agreed to. These rescissions especially target the IRS, which would account for more than half of the proposed cuts.
- The bills include many new nonbudgetary program changes. House Republican appropriators included new nonbudgetary riders in the bills, such as imposing new limitations on abortion access, actively undermining environmental efforts, and hamstringing the Biden administration’s ability to reduce gun deaths.
The proposals would also go far beyond the debt limit deal and claw back $67 billion of the $80 billion in funding provided to the IRS by the Inflation Reduction Act, hampering the agency’s ability to improve customer service while allowing wealthy tax cheats to avoid paying what they owe.
“House Republican appropriation bills break three core tenets of the debt limit deal and put the United States on the path to a government shutdown,” said Bobby Kogan, senior director of federal budget policy and co-author of the report. “These proposals would make it harder for Americans across the country to receive their benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), cut funding for Title I schools to an all-time low, cut funding for ensuring our drinking water is safe by nearly 60 percent, and further pull away funding from the already underfunded Social Security Administration. House Republican appropriators are calling to break the debt limit deal they negotiated, pushing us toward a government shutdown that could have devastating implications for households across the country.”
“House Republican appropriators’ deep cuts in IRS funding will cost far more in lost revenues than they save,” said Jean Ross, senior fellow for Inclusive Economy and co-author of the report. “Such a reduction would worsen customer service for all tax filers, while allowing wealthy tax cheats to avoid paying what they owe. Congress should restore, not reduce, support for the IRS and should provide ongoing, adequate funding so that the IRS can provide quality service and collect the revenues that support the federal budget.”
Read the report: “House Republican Appropriations Proposal Breaks the Debt Limit Deal” by Bobby Kogan and Jean Ross
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