Analysis: Alternative House GOP Budget Makes Faster, Deeper Cuts

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. Gerald Herbert/AP File Photo

Anything you can cut, we can cut deeper.

That seemed to be the message Monday from the Republican Study Committee, which unveiled an alternative budget for fiscal year 2014 that Chairman Steve Scalise of Louisiana described as “fairer and simpler” than other competing versions, including the one introduced last week by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Still, Scalise was careful to emphasize his support for Ryan’s budget and to discourage any internal “division” over the two documents.

Flanked by Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., a member of the House Budget Committee who helped draft the RSC version, Scalise addressed perhaps the biggest difference between the two proposals: The RSC budget balances in four years, whereas Ryan’s balances in 10 years.

“We do the same thing; we just do it a little quicker,” Scalise explained.

Scalise said the RSC proposal strikes “a really good contrast” to the Senate Democratic budget introduced last week, but it also highlights some critical contrasts with Ryan’s version. Policy-wise, the RSC budget, titled “Back to the Basics,” goes much further in cutting entitlement programs and in balancing the budget over the next few years than Ryan’s most recent plan.

The RSC blueprint seeks to freeze all discretionary spending through 2017. It proposes turning Medicare into a voucher program by the year 2019, whereas Ryan’s latest budget did not touch Medicare within the next decade. And it targets the political sacred cow of Social Security. The RSC budget calls for a change in the way benefits are calculated—a change that President Obama supports as part of a grand budget deal—as well as an increase in the eligibility age for anyone born in 1979 or later.

Scalise and Woodall said their conservative subgroup of the House Republican Conference has traditionally released an alternative budget in an attempt to pull the conference ideologically rightward. Scalise noted that the last time the RSC did not release an alternative version was in 2008—and that’s because the House GOP budget balanced in four years. “That’s been kind of the sweet spot,” he said.

Part of the goal of this year’s Republican Study Committee budget, much like the Ryan plan, is to establish a standard for balancing the federal budget in a short time period and make that the rhetoric against which all budget documents are measured in the coming years.

“I serve on the Budget Committee, and I believe in what Paul is doing there,” Woodall said. “Having sat in those discussions for two years, I saw how the RSC budget in 2011 ... laid the framework for principles that could pass the House in 2012. And laying out those RSC principles in 2012, now we have a framework for things that can pass the House in 2013. It’s a process.”

Scalise stressed that the contrast conservatives are drawing is not with the House Republican budget, but with the document produced by Senate Democrats—and with the one they’re still waiting for from the president. “We will see his Final Four picks before we see his budget,” Scalise predicted.

This article appeared in the Tuesday, March 19, 2013 edition of National Journal Daily.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.