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McCaskill & Corker Introduce Bill to Cut Spending Over 10 Years

Bipartisan ‘CAP Act’ would put binding cap on all federal spending

February 1, 2011

WASHINGTON - As the Congressional Budget Office reports a record $1.5 trillion U.S. deficit for fiscal year 2011, U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) are introducing legislation to force Congress to dramatically cut spending over 10 years.

"At a time when many families have been forced to tighten their pocketbooks, Congress must also learn to do the same. This bill isn't just about cutting back this year or next year; it's about instilling permanent discipline to keep spending at a responsible level," Senator McCaskill said.

"Washington continues to borrow and spend, and despite the pleas of the American people, there is no end in sight," said Senator Corker, "As we approach our debt limit of $14.29 trillion and more and more Americans - Republicans, Democrats and Independents - call on Washington to get spending under control and reduce our deficit, I see no better time to change course. What Senator McCaskill and I are offering is a legislative straightjacket, a way of forcing Congress to dramatically cut spending over 10 years. The beauty of the CAP Act is that it imposes fiscal discipline and smaller government, while incentivizing lawmakers to pass policies that promote economic growth."

The Commitment to American Prosperity Act is a simple, 10-page bill that does four things:


1. The bill permanently limits all federal spending - both discretionary and mandatory - to a responsible level compared to our economy using historical markers to set limits.
2. It eliminates oft-used budget gimmicks in order to take into account the true reality of our economic situation.
3. It authorizes the Office of Management and Budget to make evenly distributed cuts throughout the budget to bring down spending if Congress fails to meet the annual cap.
4. It requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress to override the binding cap.

The Corker-McCaskill CAP Act is cosponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and John McCain (R-Ariz.).

In 2009 the federal government spent $1.4 trillion more than it took in, borrowing nearly 40 cents of every dollar. The gap between spending and revenue is almost four times the historic average. Even when the U.S. reaches historic revenue levels, we are still projected to be spending nearly six percent more of our gross domestic product than we take in, and the gap will continue to widen. By 2035, on our current trajectory, U.S. debt will reach 185 percent of GDP. If this occurs, interest payments on our national debt will reach nearly nine percent of GDP - as much as we currently spend on national defense, education, roads, and all government agencies combined.

A short summary of the legislation is available here.
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