H.R. 444: Require a Plan Act

H.R. 444

Require a Plan Act

Sponsor
Rep. Tom Price

Date
February 5, 2013 (113th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, February 5, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 444, Require a Plan Act, under a rule.  H.R. 444 was introduced by Representative Tom Price (R-GA) on February 1, 2013.   Amendments made in order by the Rules Committee will be the subject of a separate legislative digest. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 444 requires the President to submit a supplemental budget by April 1, 2013 in the event that the President’s initial 2014 budget submission does not achieve balance within a fiscal year covered by the initial budget.  H.R. 444 requires the supplemental budget to identify when the President expects to achieve a balanced budget, the policies that will be implemented to achieve a balanced budget, and an explanation of how the policies in the supplemental differ from those in the initial budget. 

Background

The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 requires the President to submit a budget each year on the first Monday in February.[i]  Despite this legal obligation, the President has failed to submit a timely budget four out of the last five years.  The first and last timely budget submission occurred on February 1, 2010.  Moreover, with respect to the FY 2014 budget, the President acknowledged on January 11, 2013 that he would not submit his budget as required by law and failed to identify a date for submission. [ii]

Contrary to pledges to cut the deficit in half during his first term, the President has run annual deficits that exceed one trillion dollars each of the last four years and increased the public debt by more than 50 percent.  The President’s FY 2013 budget submission, which was made on February 13, 2012, set government spending at $47 trillion over ten years, a $1.5 trillion increase that was concealed through budget gimmicks.[iii]  Despite receiving $620 billion in increased revenue in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the President is calling for additional revenue to address the deficit rather than address the crux of the debt and deficit, which is the Administration’s out of control spending.[iv]

 

Amendments

Takano (D-CA) – amendment makes changes to the findings section, clarifying that Congress holds responsibility for passing budgets and appropriating funds.

Schrader (D-OR), Wolf (R-VA), Cooper (D-TN), Gibson (R-NY) – amendment adds a finding stating Simpson-Bowles created a balanced package of revenue and spending reforms that should form the basis for meeting the requirements of this act.

Fleming (R-LA) – amendment requires one of the additional policies presented in the supplemental unified budget to be an evaluation of duplicative agencies and proposals to consolidate them for cost-savings.

Messer (R-IN) – amendment requires the supplemental unified budget to include the cost, per taxpayer, of the annual deficit for each year in which such budget is projected to result in a deficit.

Scalise (R-LA) – amendment provides accountability and transparency in direct spending, the vast majority of which is on “autopilot.”  In the past, means-tested direct spending has not been tracked as a separate category in presidential or congressional budgets.  A mirror amendment offered by Rep. Scalise was added to the House Rules in the 113th Congress. 
 
The Scalise amendment requires the supplemental budget to address direct (mandatory) spending, broken out into means-tested and non-means-tested categories, in a number of ways: (a) the average rate of growth for each category in the total amount of outlays during the 10-year period preceding the budget year, (b) information on the budget proposals for reform of such programs, (c) a description of programs which shall be considered means-tested direct spending and non-means-tested direct spending, and (d) an annual estimate of the total amount of outlays for each such program for the period covered by the budget proposal. 

Additional Information

Key Policy Points 

  • The President has a statutory obligation to submit a budget the first Monday in February on an annual basis
  • The President has violated the law four out of five years in office
  • H.R. 444 requires the President to submit a budget that balances

 Key Messaging Points 

  • Every American family knows what it’s like to live on a budget.  Times may be tough, but they work hard, they save, they make sacrifices and they live within their means.
  • The Democrats who run Washington don’t get it – the government spends $1 trillion more than it takes in every year.
  • Senate Democrats haven’t passed a budget in four years, and the president has missed the deadline for submitting his own budget for the fourth time in the last five years.  It’s time for them to get serious.
  • House Republicans are committed to getting Washington spending under control.  That’s why we’ve introduced the “Require a PLAN Act,” which demands that the president explain to the American people how he intends to balance the budget.
  • A balanced budget matters to seniors who rely on the benefits they’ve earned, to middle-class Americans struggling to make ends meet, and to our children, whose future can only be secured by fiscal restraint now.
  • The “Require a PLAN” Act shows the president that House Republicans are committed to balancing the budget and getting our economy back on track to create more jobs.  It’s time he joined us in that effort.