House Republicans want to fund government above sequester levels

House Republicans may be moving ahead with a Continuing Resolution (CR) that defunds ObamaCare, but the measure they’re pushing will fund the government above levels set by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The Budget Control Act (BCA) set in place $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years, which became known as the sequester. Those cuts, which are ultimately cuts to the rate of spending growth, went into effect in March after a temporary delay at the beginning of the year. Half of the cuts were applied to domestic programs, the other half to defense.

Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute, noted last week that the original CR backed by House Republican leadership would have spent $988 billion in FY 2014, rough $20 billion above the levels set by the BCA.

“The Congressional Budget Office’s score of the House Republican CR shows that defense is funded at $20 billion above the sequestration-included cap for fiscal 2014,” wrote DeHaven. “However, non-defense funding is actually $1 billion below it. Thus, it seems clear that the CR was intentionally written to force the sequestration-defense issue, which would kick-in in January.”

The BCA set the level for spending level for FY 2014 at $967 billion. The latest CR proposed by House Republicans, which defunds ObamaCare, would spend $986 billion, funding the government until December 15.

Senate Republicans have also balked at the House-backed CR specifically because it spends more than the $967 billion authorized by the BCA.

This presents a problem for House Republicans. The CR they’re proposing already doesn’t have much chance of passing the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, because it defunds ObamaCare. Senate Republicans, while not outright opposed to the measure, are questioning the wisdom of funding the government above sequester levels.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason to what they’re doing when it comes to the BCA. The sequester was a hard-fought victory for House Republicans, and yet they continue to try to undo what is one of the greatest achievements for limited government in a very long time.


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