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Braun and Emmer Introduce Bill to Rein In Future Government Spending

Today, Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) introduced the Responsible Budget Targets Act (RBTA) to gradually rein in the growth of federal spending in the coming decades by implementing flexible budget caps.

“We need to put a cap on the Biden Administration’s reckless and irresponsible spending and get our nation back on the path of prosperity. As long as the federal government keeps spending money we don’t have, families in Indiana and across the county will continue to suffer,” said Braun.

Emmer said, “Our national debt ten years ago was $16 trillion. Today, that debt has nearly doubled, to over $30 trillion. Our fiscal trajectory as a nation is unsustainable and threatens the future of our children and grandchildren.”

“We can still change course, but we must act now” Emmer continued. The Responsible Budget Target Act offers a practical solution to our nation’s spending addiction that will help to balance our budget in the coming decades without causing major disruptions to government services. I am excited to partner with Senator Braun on this effort, which is a culmination my work over the past year to return fiscal sanity to Washington.”

Kurt Couchman, a Senior Fellow in Fiscal Policy at Americans for Prosperity said, “Too much spending and debt have created today’s high inflation. Fortunately, Senator Mike Braun and Representative Tom Emmer have proposed a new, smart way to get the budget back on track.” Couchman continued, “Similar to Switzerland’s highly successful debt brake, their bill would move toward budget balance over the business cycle—instead of every year—and would allow immediate emergency spending with offsets in the years to follow. We commend them and encourage all members of Congress to support the Responsible Budget Targets Act.”

Background:

Previous attempts in Congress to establish fixed spending limits have fallen short largely due to their static nature, often failing to account for fluctuations in the growth of the economy or federal receipts. The RBTA establishes a dynamic formula that fluctuates with the expansion or contraction of our economy. If followed, this model could put us in a position to balance the federal budget excluding debt in just fifteen years.

Each year, the RBTA would require the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to send to Congress a spending cap estimate at the beginning of the budget process. Congress would then work within this cap to allocate funds to meet our nation’s most important needs and obligations. The bill also allows for any emergency spending to be offset in a manner that will prevent such spending from impacting the overall baseline.

You can read the bill in its entirety at https://www.braun.senate.gov/sites/default/files/2022-04/Responsible%20Budget%20Target%20Act.pdf.