(The Center Square) – The House Freedom Caucus hit back Wednesday after its budget proposal got the attention of the White House, with members pledging to cut federal spending.
“We intend to do what the American people elected us to do and that is to bring fiscal responsibility, fiscal stability to Washington,” U.S. Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., said during a news conference.
The caucus has said it would vote to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for concessions, including ending the $400 billion student loan debt cancellation program, rescinding unspent COVID-19 funding, rescinding $80 billion in Internal Revenue Service funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, repealing climate-related spending from the Inflation Reduction Act, setting fiscal year 2024 appropriations to the 2022 enacted level, and capping future discretionary spending growth at 1% a year for a decade.
“We’ve never cut spending on the House side in modern times,” Good said. “We’re going to do that.”
On Monday, the White House called the House Freedom Caucus proposal a “five-alarm fire” that would “be a disaster for families in at least five key ways: endangering public safety, raising costs for families, shipping manufacturing jobs overseas and undermining American workers, weakening national security, and hurting seniors.”
Caucus members dismissed those claims on Wednesday. U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Texas, said the caucus is merely proposing a return to pre-COVID spending levels.
“Only in Washington is that ‘the world is going to end’ if we go back to spending what we were just a couple of years ago before a massive pandemic hit our country,” he said.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonprofit budget watchdog group, estimated the proposal would save $2.9 to $3.7 trillion over a decade, including $275 billion to $775 billion over the next 2.5 years, depending on the details. The group said, “although details of the savings differ tremendously, these savings levels are in line with [President Joe Biden’s fiscal year] 2024 budget proposal.”
The organization noted that the House Freedom Caucus proposal to rescind the IRS funding, “which is being used to narrow the gap between taxes owed and taxes collected, would actually worsen the deficit – to the tune of $120 billion over the next decade.” However, on the whole, the caucus proposal would save $2.9 to $3.7 trillion over 10 years.