House Freedom Caucus Demands Spending Cuts as Condition for Raising Debt Ceiling
House Freedom Caucus Demands Spending Cuts as Condition for Raising Debt Ceiling

By Lawrence Wilson

America is burdened by a “wasteful, woke, weaponized bureaucracy” that must be brought under control, leaders of the House Freedom Caucus said in announcing their budget proposal, which focuses on reducing the national debt and burdensome federal regulations.

The caucus released its position on the national debt on March 10, saying it will consider increasing the debt ceiling only if accompanied by legislation to cut current spending, cap future spending, and reduce the size and reach of the federal bureaucracy, according to a March 10 statement.

“We can solve our debt crisis responsibly if we shrink Washington and grow America,” Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said at a March 10 press conference.

“Members of the House Freedom Caucus are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work voting now on these proposals, and we’re willing to do it today,” he said.

The caucus plan was announced a day after the release of President Joe Biden’s budget proposal and stands in sharp contrast to it.

The Caucus Plan

The proposed spending cuts include ending the Biden plan for student loan forgiveness, rescinding COVID-19 relief funds that have not yet been obligated or spent, and recouping funds allocated to hiring IRS officers and climate change-related funding in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Capping discretionary spending at 2022 levels for 10 years would remove $131 billion from the federal budget next year, according to the caucus, and save about $3 trillion over a decade.

Doing so would allow Congress to act on the higher priorities the nation faces, said Perry.

“When we shrink Washington this way, it enables Congress to use the appropriations process to address the many abuses and disasters caused by the Biden administration, such as the chaos at our southern border, the COVID vaccine, the COVID vaccine mandates and the associated discriminatory policies, and the unconstitutional ATF rules just to name a few.”

People rally in support of the Biden administration’s student debt relief plan in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Feb. 28, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The cap on discretionary spending would also protect Social Security retirement and Medicare benefits, according to the caucus statement.

The caucus plan aims to stimulate the economy by reducing regulation, increasing energy production, and restoring work requirements on welfare programs.

Freedom Caucus members seem confident that their plan can succeed in the House of Representatives.

Given that the caucus includes many of the members who forced Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to accept concessions during his race for Speaker of the House, they appear to have significant leverage within the party.

“This HFC plan on the debt ceiling is the path forward for getting 218 Republican votes in the House,” a senior staffer within the Freedom Caucus told NTD Television.

“We believe that Republicans can, and should, unite around this debt ceiling plan,” Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) said.

Contrasting Visions

The vision behind the president’s budget plan is the direct opposite of the Freedom Caucus vision.

“Today, extreme MAGA House Republicans showed us what they value: tax breaks for the super wealthy and wasteful spending for special interests,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on March 10. “This is a blueprint for selling out the middle class, law enforcement, and American competitiveness.”

“Their entire program does not lower the deficit one single penny,” the president said in a March 10 press conference.

Renewing the Trump tax cuts would cost almost $2 trillion, which, without adding taxes elsewhere, would require a 25 percent reduction in every federal program, Biden said.

“But I’m prepared,” the president said. “I told the speaker as soon as he’s ready to lay out his budget, I’m ready to sit down.”

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