Utah League of Cities and Towns

Making Life BETTER

Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R) – Congress in 2012

What do you intend to accomplish in Congress in 2012 and how will it benefit Utah’s cities and towns?

As a member of the House Budget Committee, my efforts will be focused on slowing the growth in government spending and making federal spending more transparent. To achieve this, I have proposed two bills, the Social Security Reform Act and the Review Every Dollar Act.

With the Social Security Reform Act, Social Security achieves annual and actuarial balance. This proposal has seven provisions that slow the growth in Social Security spending while protecting seniors who rely on Social Security benefits. To learn more about this proposal, please visit the Social Security page on my website where you can read a summary of the provisions of the proposal and an analysis of the proposal by the Social Security Administration’s Chief Actuary.

The Review Every Dollar Act has five provisions that strengthen spending controls and increase oversight of government spending. To learn more about this proposal, please visit my website.

We’ve made a little progress on the discretionary side of the federal budget in the past two years. Discretionary spending, including war, disaster, and emergency spending, will decrease slightly from $1.276 trillion in FY2010 to $1.18 trillion in FY2012. In August, Congress passed the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 which is expected to reduce discretionary spending by $2.1 trillion over ten years compared to the Congressional Budget Office baseline. This may sound like a significant “cut”, but it’s not as big as it seems. Keep in mind that despite this “cut”, total federal spending will continue to increase because the $2.1 trillion is a reduction in growth, not a reduction in current spending levels. Moreover, mandatory spending is basically untouched in the BCA. By comparison, HR 2560, The Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, which I introduced earlier this year and which passed the House of Representatives, would have reduced total federal spending by $5.8 trillion over ten years compared to the CBO baseline. Even with Cut, Cap, and Balance, total government expenditures would have still increased in absolute terms.

Congress needs to focus on mandatory spending. Mandatory spending, which primarily consists of entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, federal civilian and military retirement, unemployment compensation, food stamps as well as means tested refundable tax credits such as EITC and child tax credits, accounts for about 60% of total federal spending when net interest is included.

Controlling federal government spending is necessary. In 2009, state and local governments received about 22% of their general revenues from the federal government. An insolvent federal government would have a devastating impact on every taxpayer, business, and local government in the nation.

Get to know you questions:

What did you do during the 2011 holiday season?

Prior to Christmas I went to Afghanistan. Other than that, we hung out in Utah.