Mr. President, the Budget Control Act of 2011, which was signed into law by the President last August, set in place budget enforcement measures in the Senate for budget years 2012 and 2013, as well as established caps for 10 years to address discretionary spending and established the so-called supercommittee to address entitlement spending and revenues.
Specifically, to provide continued enforcement in the Senate for 2012 and budget year 2013, section 106(b)(2) requires the chairman of the Budget Committee to file not later than April 15, 2012: (1) allocations for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 for the Committee on Appropriations; (2) allocations for fiscal years 2012, 2013, 2013 through 2017, and 2013 through 2022 for committees other than the Committee on Appropriations; (3) aggregate spending levels for fiscal years 2012 and 2013; (4) aggregate revenue levels for fiscal years 2012, 2013, 2013 through 2017, and 2013 through 2022; and (5) aggregate levels of outlays and revenue for fiscal years 2012, 2013, 2013 through 2017, and 2013 through 2022 for Social Security.
In the case of the Committee on Appropriations, the allocations for 2012 and 2013 shall be set consistent with the discretionary spending limits set forth in the Budget Control Act. Consequently, the initial allocation matches the discretionary levels set in the Budget Control Act and will be revised to reflect adjustments to those levels as authorized by the Budget Control Act.
In the case of allocations for committees other than the Committee on Appropriations and the revenue and Social Security aggregates, the levels shall be set consistent with the Congressional Budget Office's March 2012 baseline. In the case of the spending aggregates for 2012 and 2013, the levels shall be set consistent with the Congressional Budget Office's March 2012 baseline and the discretionary spending limits set forth in the Budget Control Act.
In addition, section 106(c)(2) requires the chairman of the Budget Committee to reset the Senate pay-as-you-go scorecard to zero for all fiscal years and to notify the Senate of this action.
Mr. President, I wish to inform my colleagues that this morning I filed the budget deeming resolution for 2013 pursuant to the Budget Control Act passed last year. This resolution sets forth the spending limits for fiscal year 2013 at the levels agreed to by Democrats and Republicans in last summer's Budget Control Act. It allows the appropriations committees to now proceed with their work in drafting bills for next year, and it ensures the Senate will have the tools to enforce the spending limits we agreed to on a bipartisan basis.
I want to emphasize for my colleagues that we do have a budget. Those who continue to claim we do not have a budget are either unaware of what they voted on last year or are seeking to deliberately mislead the public. The Budget Control Act was passed by the House of Representatives, it was passed by the Senate, and signed into law by the President. It is the law of the land, and it established the key components of the budget for 2012 and 2013.
Here is the language from the Budget Control Act itself. It is very clear the Budget Control Act is intended to serve as the budget for 2012 and 2013. It states:
For the purpose of enforcing the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 through April 15, 2012 ..... the allocations, aggregates, and levels set in subsection (b)(1) shall apply in the Senate in the same manner as for a concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2012.
It goes on to use that exact same language for fiscal year 2013.
In many ways, the Budget Control Act was even more extensive than a traditional budget. It has the force of law, unlike a budget resolution that is not signed by the President. I think most Members here know a budget resolution is purely a congressional document. The Budget Control Act is actually the law.
No. 2, the Budget Control Act set discretionary spending caps for 10 years instead of the 1 year normally set in a budget resolution.
No. 3, it provided enforcement mechanisms, including 2 years of deeming resolutions which allow budget points of order to be enforced. And No. 4, it created a reconciliation-like supercommittee process to address entitlement and tax reforms, and it backed up that process with a $1.2 trillion sequester.
So these claims that we do not have a budget can now be put to rest. By filing the deeming resolution provided for in the Budget Control Act this morning, the budget levels have been set for next year.
Last week, we received CBO's updated budget estimates, which allowed me to complete work on the budget deeming resolution for 2013. The filing of this deeming resolution was required under the Budget Control Act. I filed a similar resolution for 2012 back in September. The Budget Control Act is crystal clear that the spending limits in the resolution should be set at the levels agreed to in the Budget Control Act.
Again, here is the language taken directly from the law. It states:
Not later than April 15, 2012, the Chairman of the Committee on the Budget shall file ..... for the Committee on Appropriations, committee allocations for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 consistent with the discretionary spending limits set forth in this Act.
It doesn't say at a level below the limits set forth in this Act, it says at a level consistent with the limits set forth in this Act.
Let's remember what these limits mean. Under the Budget Control Act spending caps, discretionary spending is cut by about $900 billion below the CBO baseline over the next 10 years, and that is not including the sequester cuts. That is just the results of the Budget Control Act spending limits.
Let me make clear, our House Republican friends now seem to be walking away from these levels, even though they agreed to them last year. Let's look at what they said last summer. Here is what House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan said on the House floor on August 1:
What the Budget Control Act has done is it has brought our two parties together. So I would just like to reflect for a moment that we have a bipartisan compromise here. That doesn't happen all that often around here; so I think that's worth noting. That's a good thing. And what are we doing? We are actually cutting spending while we do this. That's cultural. That's significant. That's a big step in the right direction. We are getting two-thirds of the cuts we wanted in our budget, and, as far as I am concerned, 66 percent in the right direction is a whole lot better than going in the wrong direction.
So last summer our House Republican colleagues were pleased to be getting 66 percent of what they wanted. They made an agreement. They shook on it. They ought to keep the agreement they made.
It seems that our House Republican friends are on their own, because at least so far the Senate Republican leadership has agreed we should keep to the spending limits we took on last year. Here is what Senate Minority Leader McConnell said on the floor last month:
We have negotiated the top line for the discretionary spending for this coming fiscal year. ..... We already have that number. ..... There is no good reason for this institution not to move forward with an appropriations process that avoids what we have done so frequently under both parties for years and years: either continuing resolutions or omnibus appropriations. ..... I hope we can join together and do the basic work of government this year and do it in a timely fashion.
I hope so too. I hope our House Republican colleagues are listening. We still must come together on a budget plan that addresses the long-term fiscal imbalances we confront, but the short-term budget is in place and it is in law. It was included in the Budget Control Act that everyone agreed to last summer. It provided for about $900 billion in discretionary spending cuts.
The Senate is now poised to proceed with its business. I have filed the budget deeming resolution for 2013, and we will be moving forward with appropriations bills at the levels we all agreed to. I believe House Republicans should do the same. If they fail to do so, they will once again threaten to shut down the government and needlessly imperil the economic recovery.
Mr. President, I thank my colleagues for this time, and I yield the floor.