Senator Jim DeMint (R, S.C.) and Congressman Jim Jordan (R, Ohio), the head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, are proposing to cut spending by $2.5 trillion by 2021. They write in the Washington Examiner, along with the RSC's budget point-man Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey, about the proposed Spending Reduction Act. The bill includes a slew of cuts to various programs, but almost all of the savings comes from cutting non-defense discretionary spending to 2006 levels and freezing spending there until 2021.
"We think it’s a first step, and we think it’s pretty big," Jordan said during a conference call last night. The national debt currently stands at $14 trillion--about the size of the United States' entire annual gross domestic product--and is on track to grow to $26 trillion in the next decade, according to the Obama administration's budget estimates.
Asked about how long it would take to bring the budget into balance, Jordan pointed to the RSC's proposal to do it in 9 years. "Does it have to be 5 or 6 years? Not necessarily. But it shouldn’t be 40 or 50 years. It has to be something credible that I believe passes the smell test with the American people," said Jordan. "So I’m pushing for something within the typical budget window which is a 10 year timeframe that says, look, we’re going to get serious about everything in government."
The RSC plan would, among other things, cut the rate of growth for Medicare to 4.2% per year. Congressman Paul Ryan's Roadmap, unlike the RSC plan, doesn't touch Medicare for current beneficiaries or those 10 years from retirement, and in so doing would put the federal government on a much longer term plan to balance the budget (in about 50 years) and eventually eliminate the national debt.
"We’ve looked at 5 years, 9 years is obviously out there," Senator DeMint told me last night. "Paul Ryan is one of the best thinkers in the House. The key at this point is to show the rest of the world that we have a plan to bring our budget into balance and to meet our debt requirements."
"I would be happy with a longer term balanced budget if we had the shorter-term straight jacket on spending such as we’re doing here [with the Spending Reduction Act]," DeMint added. "So I don’t know exactly what the timeline is. And if someone says they can’t support my five years because it needs to be nine, I’ll hug ‘em and kiss ‘em. Because we need some people who realize that if we accept the fact, as a lot of Democrats are saying, that we cannot balance our budget, we are accepting the ultimate demise of our county. We cannot accept that."