Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R) – Super Committee
Please explain the measures that you would recommend if you were a member of the Super Committee and briefly discuss what the potential impact of the Super Committee could be on Utah.
The SuperCommittee no longer exists, but the problems remain. I propose subjecting at least some if not all entitlement spending to annual appropriations. Currently, entitlement programs, which include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and federal employee retirement among others, are on auto-pilot and are not subject to annual appropriations. In 2011, entitlement spending accounted for 56% of total government spending. Including net interest on publicly held debt, the percentage was 62%. Currently, when Congress debates government spending, it is focusing on only about 38% of the federal budget.
I also propose reforming entitlement programs. I have already announced a comprehensive proposal to reform Social Security that achieves annual and actuarial balance over 75 years without raising taxes. My seven-point proposal slows the growth in Social Security expenditures and ensures that middle and lower income retirees in future years will get essentially the same or better benefit than current retirees adjusted for inflation. I would also allow states more flexibility in administering Medicaid, a program that in a typical year receives about 57% of its funding from the federal government. Since states like Utah are demonstrating a willingness and an ability to slow the growth in Medicaid expenditures, the federal government needs to grant more flexibility to states in administering Medicaid.
Please describe your standing committee assignments (and other committee assignments, if relevant). How do those committees impact Utah cities and towns, and how does your membership on that committee benefit Utah? I am a member of three committees: Oversight and Government Reform, Judiciary, and Budget.
Oversight: The Oversight Committee gives me the opportunity to directly address government waste and program reform. Of direct interest to Utah cities is our work on Postal Service reform and our investigations into mortgage programs like Fannie and Freddie. Within the committee, I am the chairman of the subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations.
Budget: Membership on the House Budget Committee impacts every state and local government in the U.S. since federal government spending accounts for nearly 25% of gross domestic product, and nationwide about 20% of state and local government revenue comes from the federal government.
Judiciary: The Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over legislation that impacts interstate commerce such as sales taxes on remote sellers. Judiciary also has jurisdiction over immigration policy and over technology issues ranging from patent law to cybercrime.