Committee on the Budget

Tom Price

Price Opening Statement: Reclaiming Congressional Authority Through the Power of the Purse


As Prepared for Delivery

Today’s hearing marks an informal kickoff to a renewed effort by this committee to reform the Congressional budget process. This is not this committee’s first look at this topic. We began to examine the broader contours of a reform effort through two hearings we held last year.

Nevertheless, we are beginning what will be a series of hearings over the coming weeks. The aim is to have these discussions inform the drafting of legislation to enact a true overhaul of the 1974 Congressional Budget Act.

But before we get too fully immersed in the details and mechanics of what a functioning budget process ought to look like, we need to step back and remember why we need a functioning budget process in the first place. We have to look at the big picture to get an appreciation of the fundamentals at play in this discussion.

You do not get more fundamental from a legislative or legal standpoint than the Constitution. Before there was a Budget Committee or the antiquated budget process we have today, there was the Constitution – with the roles, responsibilities, and authorities it prescribes.

And the Constitution makes it quite clear that budgeting is not to be viewed as ancillary to the larger governing process – but rather fundamental to it. In Article I, the Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse. Congress writes the laws that govern this land and it appropriates the funds necessary to help carry out those laws.

Appropriately, the Constitution does not prescribe a specific budget process for Congress to follow. The architects of our republic were wise in understanding the limits of their own foresight. They left it to Congress to fill in the blanks with a system that will allow the people’s representatives to carry out their Constitutional duties. Right now we do not have such a system in place that serves the people well or that holds Congress accountable.

Because of that fact, over time Congress has surrendered much of its power of the purse to the executive branch. The question we have before us today is how can we go about reclaiming Congress’ authority and, in so doing, restore greater order and credibility to the governing process as a whole.

A breakdown in budgeting leads to a breakdown in broader policymaking. That is why this reform effort goes far beyond the interests of just this committee or our friends on the Appropriations Committee. All of Congress and all committees have a vested interest in seeing that we have a functioning budget process.

Perhaps the most troubling consequence of our current failed process is the remarkable growth in automatic spending. This is the spending that Congress has largely avoided addressing and which is done outside the annual appropriations process.

Automatic spending is the sole source of Federal spending growth as a share of the economy. It is the main driver of government debt. Unchecked growth in this type of spending is truly an affront to the spirit of Article I because it removes an important part of Congress’ power of the purse – namely the power to choose when NOT to spend. By design, automatic spending requires the consent of the executive – a presidential signature – to turn it off.

For those needing a real world example of what we are talking about today, look no further than the recent ruling by a U.S. District Court judge. In a decision announced just a few weeks ago, a DC Circuit Judge ruled that the administration could not expend funds to a program for which Congress had refused to appropriate money. This court ruling in no uncertain terms reinforced Congress’ Article I power of the purse.

Lastly, today’s hearing should hopefully shed some important light on the hidden regulatory costs that are too often overlooked during budgetary discussions. In 2015 alone, Federal regulatory costs were upwards of $1.9 trillion. That’s equivalent to roughly half of what the Federal government spent last year. It is more than was collected in income tax revenue. And none of these costs were directly approved by Congress. They are born out of executive branch rule-making.

So we have a robust set of challenges before us, and this ought to be a non-partisan discussion. A sound budget process benefits no single party or governing philosophy. It is necessary for the health of our republic – something we all care about.

I want to thank all of our witnesses for being here today and for their interest in these issues. We have Philip Joyce, Senior Associate Dean and Professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy; Stan Collender, Executive Vice President at Qorvis MSLGROUP, and Matthew Spalding, Associate Vice President and Dean of Educational Programs at  Hillsdale College and the Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship.

Thank you all for being willing to take time to share your insights into how Congress can reclaim the power of the purse and restore a healthy, constitutional balance of power.

And with that I yield to the acting Ranking Member, Mr. Pascrell.

Read More

Price Statement on Disappointing First Quarter GDP Report


WASHINGTON, D.C. - House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06) released the following statement in response to today’s disappointing GDP report that showed the economy only grew by 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016:

“The failed economic policies and regulatory oppression of the Obama Administration have contributed to a weakened economy that continues to frustrate the efforts of American families, workers, and businesses to make ends meet. If current policies are maintained, the Congressional Budget Office projects the economy to continue to underperform in the years to come. This will make it harder for Americans to get ahead. It will impede efforts to get the nation’s fiscal house in order, to strengthen our national security, and to improve the health, retirement and financial security of our citizens. We need real solutions that embrace entrepreneurship, innovation, economic freedom and opportunity – solutions like those outlined in the House Budget Committee’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget resolution A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America.”  Read More

Price and Rokita Op-Ed in RealClearPolitics: How and Why We Budget


By House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price and Vice Chairman Todd Rokita
April 13, 2016

The American people are frustrated. For too long, they have seen too many in Washington standing in the way of responsible decisions that need to be made to secure our country’s future. Despite the fact that there has been some success – including cutting the deficit by over $800 billion – pushing back against the tax more/spend more agenda of President Obama, citizens are keenly aware that far more must be done to restore fiscal responsibility and advance real solutions.

Meanwhile our nation’s mountain of debt continues to grow. If Washington is ever going to get our debt under control and earn back the trust of the American people, Congress must lead the way by asserting its constitutional authority. Article I of the Constitution clearly states that it is the job of the legislative branch to write laws and to provide funding for government operations. With that duty come the responsibilities to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars and to ensure, through robust oversight, that the executive branch correctly enforces the law.
One way Congress meets that responsibility is through the annual appropriations process. Twelve individual bills that cover one-third of the budget – what is called “discretionary” spending – are supposed to be adopted on a yearly basis. Unfortunately, what often happens is passage of stop-gap legislation that maintains status quo spending levels. Or multiple appropriations bills are cobbled together into a giant package that is so dense and so all-encompassing that it makes it harder to have real transparency and accountability. This diminishes Congress’s constitutionally defined role in policymaking, while surrendering power and authority to the executive branch.

Meanwhile, the other two-thirds of the budget – what is known as “automatic” spending because the government pays the bills without a required annual appropriation – goes largely untouched and insufficiently scrutinized. That share of the annual budget is only growing larger, which means more and more of the money that Washington spends is being disbursed outside the regular, annual review process. When more and more spending is on auto-pilot, there are fewer and fewer opportunities or incentives for Congress to take a hard look at what the government is spending money on and to whom it is paying and to what extent that money is getting a positive result, if any.

The budget is the one legislative vehicle that looks at the whole picture, every year – both discretionary and automatic spending, along with taxes and oversight. It then lays out a vision for how to reconcile the priorities of the American people into a coherent strategy to put our fiscal house in order and appropriately fund those priorities. That is why, since being given the House majority, Republicans have written and fought for budgets that rein in spending and focus attention on reforming government. As proof of that effort, last year the House and Senate – now also with a Republican majority – were able to agree to the first joint 10-year balanced budget resolution since 2001. Read More

House Budget Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2017 Committee Report


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Budget Committee filed the Fiscal Year 2017 budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 125) and released the accompanying committee report (H Report 114-470) for A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America. The report features the budget’s in-depth policy proposals, long-term projections, historical trends and economic analyses, information on the reconciliation process, comparisons between the committee’s budget and the president’s budget, as well as ideas for improving the congressional budget process. The report also includes all information pertaining to the House Budget Committee’s markup of the budget resolution held last week.

The introduction to the committee report reads in part:
“To address today’s fiscal problems, and to create a foundation for robust growth, this resolution retains longstanding convictions about budgeting and governing. It reverses the drift toward ever higher spending and larger government; it reinforces the innovation and creativity stirring in the myriad institutions and communities across the country; and it revitalizes the prosperity that creates ever-expanding opportunities for all Americans to pursue their destinies. Like any good budget resolution, this one expresses a vision of governing, and of America itself.”
Click here to read the full report.
Along with the report, the House Budget Committee also released a new video highlighting how A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America focuses on solving our fiscal, economic, and national security challenges. The video features Chairman Tom Price (GA-06), Vice Chairman Todd Rokita (IN-04), Congressman Rob Woodall (GA-07), Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), and Congressman John Moolenaar (MI-04).
Click here to watch the video.
Read More

Price Statement on Committee Passage of Balanced Budget


WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06) issued the following statement after the House Budget Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget resolution, A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America:
“This evening, the House Budget Committee approved a plan to reduce the deficit by $7 trillion and balance the nation’s budget. It lays before the American people a positive vision for how we can solve our fiscal, economic, and national security challenges through reforms that would grow our economy and hold Washington accountable. If enacted, these policies would give states greater flexibility to help those in need of assistance, save Medicare and protect seniors’ health care, improve the delivery of necessary services, eliminate inefficiencies, and provide critical support for our military. It is a budget to improve the lives of the American people and strengthen our great nation. I look forward to moving these common sense, principled solutions forward in the days to come.” 
Read More

Chairman Price Opening Statement: Markup of the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Resolution


As Prepared for Delivery

Good morning.

Today, we are marking up the Fiscal Year 2017 budget resolution, A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America. This is a plan to get the nation’s fiscal house in order by balancing the budget within 10 years – a plan to empower the American people, hold Washington accountable to hard-working taxpayers, foster an environment for economic growth and opportunity, and ensure a strong national defense. We are presenting a vision that values outcomes over inputs; one that would send power back to the states, prioritize the responsibilities of the federal government – like national security – and save and strengthen those programs that are critical to the health, retirement, and economic security of millions of Americans. 

This budget reflects the thoughts and concerns we hear from the American people who are understandably frustrated when they see their country careening down the wrong track. The solutions we are putting forward, when passed into law, would get our country moving in the right direction.

We will talk a lot today about specific numbers and policies, but it is important that we also take a moment to understand why we are debating a budget in the first place – to understand and appreciate the important role a healthy and functioning budget process plays in ensuring we have a healthy and functioning legislative body.

A budget ensures that Congress is fully and appropriately exercising its Constitutional duty. Article I gives Congress, not the Executive Branch, the power of the purse. It gives us the responsibility to practice oversight over the departments and agencies of the federal government in order to ensure the tax dollars of hard-working Americans are spent in an efficient, effective, and accountable manner.

A budget also allows Congress to lay forth a vision on how we would tackle – not just our short-term budgetary needs – but our long-term fiscal and economic challenges as well. And, how we would make improvements to save, strengthen and secure programs like Medicare and Medicaid that provide an important service to millions of our fellow Americans but which are currently on an unsustainable path and/or failing to deliver the benefit promised. 

Congress must not cede even more power to the Executive Branch by forgoing our responsibility to budget. We also cannot surrender to the status quo and fail to act boldly when the times demand it and the American people demand it.

The bold solutions and commonsense ideas we outline in this budget will achieve $7 trillion in deficit reduction over the coming decade – through a combination of $6.5 trillion in savings coupled with greater economic growth. We do not and cannot achieve this level of savings and get to balance simply by focusing on the discretionary side of the ledger. Discretionary spending – that which Congress appropriates each year – makes up just one-third of the annual budget. The other two-thirds and growing side of the budget is automatic spending.

We spend a relatively large amount of time here in Congress arguing about that one-third and far too little time talking about how to address the unsustainable growth in automatic spending. The longer we wait to do something about that unsustainable trajectory, the worse fiscal shape we will be in. But, more importantly, the longer we ignore the insolvency of programs like Medicare, the bigger the threat to our fellow Americans.

Let’s be absolutely clear. The threat to seniors’ health care is not coming from those of us trying to save Medicare and provide more choices and higher quality. It is coming from those who are unwilling to do anything that can realistically secure and strengthen this program and many other programs like Medicaid and Social Security that are either failing those they serve or headed toward insolvency.

This budget shows a commitment to doing what is right, what is responsible to ensure a brighter future for all Americans. There are a myriad of other important solutions which I know other members will touch on throughout this mark-up – whether it be tax reform, health care reform, ensuring our brave men and women in uniform have the resources they need to defend this great nation.

Today, we’ll move forward with this common sense plan to increase economic growth and opportunity, hold Washington accountable, and keep our nation safe. I look forward to a robust debate.
Read More

House Budget Committee Introduces Fiscal Year 2017 Budget


WASHINGTON, D.C. - House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06) issued the following statement today after the House Budget Committee introduced its Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal, A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America:

“We need real solutions to overcome the fiscal, economic, and national security challenges facing our nation. Surrendering to the status quo or failing to act boldly will mean Americans today and in the future will have less opportunity and less security. The Fiscal Year 2017 House Republican budget, A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America, provides a vision and specific solutions for how we can, as a nation, get our fiscal house in order, strengthen our national security, provide support for those who need assistance, and empower our citizens and our communities. It is a plan to balance the budget through commonsense reforms and greater economic growth; to create a healthier economy, more secure nation, and a more accountable Washington.”

Read the Plan

Charts and Graphs

Legislative Text

Frequently Asked Questions

Summary Tables


Summary & Key Facts

Balances the Budget

Balances the budget within 10 years – without raising taxes – and puts the country on a path to paying off the national debt

This budget achieves $7 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years through a combination of $6.5 trillion in savings coupled with economic growth

Savings are higher than any previous House Budget Committee proposal and discretionary spending is below 2008 levels

Requires consideration of legislation this year to achieve at least $30 billion in automatic spending reductions and reforms over the near term

Advances budget process reforms to promote fiscal discipline, and calls for a vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment this year

Strengthens Our National Defense

Provides for greater security at home and strength abroad at funding levels above the president’s budget and with increased resources for training, equipment and compensation

Supports the bipartisan prohibition on closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and transfer of detainees to American soil

Identifies vulnerabilities in our nation’s refugee program and calls for oversight and rigorous screening

Calls for an improved and accountable Department of Veterans Affairs that can better deliver services and benefits to our veterans

Empowers Our Citizens & Communities

Promotes job creation and a healthier economy by calling for a fairer, simpler tax code, regulatory reform, expanded energy production, and a more efficient, effective and accountable government

Repeals all of Obamacare 
Endorses patient-centered health care solutions that improve access to quality, affordable care

Saves, strengthens, and secures Medicare for current and future retirees

Empowers states and local communities with the flexibility to innovate and make improvements to Medicaid, nutrition assistance, education and other programs

Strengthens the Disability Insurance program by putting an end to the “double-dipping” loophole that currently allows individuals to receive both unemployment insurance and disability insurance simultaneously

Puts an end to corporate welfare and dismantles the Department of Commerce Read More

Price: Real Debt Reduction Will Require White House Cooperation


WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3442, the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2015 – legislation that would require the Treasury Secretary, prior to the nation reaching its public debt limit, to appear before Congress and provide testimony on what is driving our national debt, a clear series of proposals on deficit and debt reduction, and an update on what progress is being made towards debt reduction.

“Rather than have what should be an informative and healthy debate over our fiscal challenges devolve into a crisis every time the country approaches its debt limit, we ought to have an orderly approach that focuses the discussion on solutions to get America’s fiscal house in order. The House has approved a common sense approach that would enhance accountability and reduce potentially disruptive risks to our economy. It would require the White House to provide its projections about the fiscal health of programs like Medicare and Social Security – both of which are currently going insolvent as our nation is headed toward a predictable and avoidable debt crisis. We have to address the automatic spending programs that make up two-thirds of our annual budget and are growing at an unsustainable pace. Congress has the power of the purse, and we have been proposing in our annual budgets responsible actions our nation can take to get spending under control, save and strengthen important programs, and reduce our debt. To ultimately achieve real reform, however, will require buy-in and cooperation from the administration as well.”
Read More

Price Responds to President Obama’s Unbalanced & Irresponsible Budget


WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s irresponsible FY 2017 budget proposal that would increase spending by $2.5 trillion and raise taxes by $3.4 trillion over the next decade. Under this budget, the national debt will be more than double what it was when the president took office.

“Like every one of his previous budgets, President Obama’s newest plan never balances. Ever. Like all of his previous proposals, it increases spending by trillions of dollars above what we already cannot afford and takes more money out of the pockets of hardworking taxpayers with no plan to address the key drivers of our debt. Under the president’s vision, what we spend on interest on our national debt by 2022 will surpass that which we spend to protect and defend our nation. This is the same approach we have seen time and time again from this administration that continues to lead America down the same path we have been on for the past seven years: one with fewer jobs, lower wages, less opportunity and less security. 

“The president’s defense of a broken status quo has even received substantial opposition from members of his own party when they have had to actually vote for or against the budgets he proposes. In the days to come, House Republicans will be offering a clear alternative to the president’s stale, big government policies. We will be presenting a positive vision for America’s future with a plan to strengthen our economy, rebuild confidence in our country, give our military the resources they need to carry out their missions, save and strengthen vital programs that will ensure health and retirement security for millions of Americans, and balance the budget. We refuse to accept the status quo. It’s time to look to the future with a budget that will actually meet the fiscal, economic and national security challenges of the 21st Century.”
Read More

Chairman Price Opening Statement: CBO's Budget and Economic Outlook


Good morning and thank you all for being here.

Today’s hearing is focused on the Congressional Budget Office’s recently released Budget and Economic Outlook. In its report CBO projects that if no changes are made to current policies, deficits over the next decade will total $9.4 trillion. This is up from $7.6 trillion from your estimate last year. The national debt will rise to over $29 trillion by 2026, from it’s current too high $19 trillion – and average economic growth over the next ten years will be a disappointing 2.1 percent – a full one-third lower than the historical average. 

For individuals, families and businesses, this slow growth and skyrocketing debt will mean less opportunity, fewer jobs and smaller paychecks, and a nation increasingly vulnerable to national security threats both at home and abroad.

This is not an optimistic outlook for America. It is not a sustainable outlook for any nation, and the longer we take to address these challenges the harder it will be and the fewer options we will have to actually solve them.

If you look at interest payments on the debt – just what we will spend to service the debt at the end of the decade – we are talking nearly $1 trillion dollars. That’s more than we will spend on defense, on education, Medicaid, transportation infrastructure. Pick a priority. Money spent on paying this interest will crowd out spending on other important priorities for Americans.  Buying a car, paying the rent, buying a house, starting/expanding a business, sending a kid to college – all of them made more difficult because of the level of debt their government continues to accumulate. By 2026, interest on our debt will be the third largest line-item in the federal budget – behind only Social Security and Medicare. 

So how can we solve these challenges? I know many of our friends on the other side of the aisle – and particularly the president – think we ought to take more money from hardworking taxpayers.

But CBO projects that federal revenues are set to go up by $127 billion in fiscal year 2016 – a nearly four percent increase over last fiscal year. Revenue levels for 2016 are slated to be 18.3 percent of our gross domestic product and remain around 18 percent over the decade to come – which is well above the historical average.  The government is now taking more money than ever in taxes from the American people.

My constituents know – and I suspect yours do too – that Uncle Sam does not need a raise. Washington needs to get its act together and stop spending at levels we cannot sustain. According to CBO, spending will reach 21.2 percent of GDP in 2016 and climb to 23.1 percent of the economy in 2026. Again, this will far exceed the historical average of 20.2 percent.  That means more money taken from Americans and spent on things that crowd out – or decrease – the likelihood of folks to be able to do the things they want to do.   

So instead of taking more from the American people to spend more in Washington, we ought to focus on real solutions: reforms that will make government more efficient, effective and accountable and solutions that will support a stronger, healthier economy. 

If we focus on those two goals, we will not only balance the budget, and get on a path to paying off the debt, but we can also create an environment in this country where more Americans will achieve success, provide for themselves and their families, and have nation that is more secure and stronger than ever before. That’s what we believe – that we ought to be working to foster a system with the greatest amount of opportunity and the greatest amount of success, for the greatest number of people, so that the greatest number of American dreams may be realized – in a fair and compassionate system.

Sadly, under the economic policies of President Obama, Americans have experienced the worst recovery in modern times. CBO has continued to downgrade its growth projections year after year, and in January, we learned that the U.S. economy grew at an anemic 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015. This is the dismal economic legacy the president is championing. 

Meanwhile, vital health and retirement programs like Medicare and Social Security are headed toward insolvency – they’re going broke. What does that mean?  That if we do nothing – then we will not be able to provide the services to folks who have been promised those services.  And it’s already happening - we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on assistance programs that are often failing the very people they are supposed to be helping.  Medicaid is a classic example – with more money being spent and more people being forced into a program where there are fewer and fewer doctors providing care – and services are often not adequate to help the people needing help. It’s simply not right. 

We have a choice as a nation. We can continue down this road, stick with the status quo, and turn CBO’s projections into reality. Or we can turn the page, put in place a budget that balances, that saves and strengthens Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, that supports our brave men and women in uniform. Right now our committee is hard at work on building such a plan.

Thank you Director Hall for being here today and for your work and that of your colleagues at the Congressional Budget Office. I look forward to your testimony and to a healthy discussion about the challenges ahead and how we solve them.

And with that, I yield to the ranking member, Mr. Van Hollen. 

Read More

Contact Information

207 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-226-7270
Fax 202-226-7174


Diane Black


Marsha Blackburn


Rod Blum


Dave Brat


Tom Cole


Mario Diaz-Balart


Scott Garrett


Glenn Grothman


Vicky Hartzler


Tom McClintock


John Moolenaar


Alex Mooney


Gary Palmer


Tom Price


Tom Rice


Todd Rokita


Mark Sanford


Marlin Stutzman


Bruce Westerman


Steve Womack


Rob Woodall


Recent Videos