The House Republican Study Committee released a 2024 budget plan Wednesday that would slash federal spending by $16.3 trillion and cut taxes by $5.1 trillion over a decade, while balancing the budget in seven years.
The model budget from the largest Republican caucus, which includes about 75% of all GOP House members, would also gradually raise the retirement age for Social Security to 69, introduce market competition in Medicare, turn Medicaid funding into state-level blocks grants, and build a wall at the border with Mexico.
“The RSC Budget is a reflection of our commitment to defending our constitutional rights, championing conservative values, and safeguarding the foundational principles that make our country great,” Rep. Ben Cline, chair of the RSC Budget and Spending Task Force, said in a statement.
A ‘values’ budget: The RSC plan, which includes more than 200 bills from individual members, explicitly links spending proposals with the cultural issues that are central to the Republican political project. “Nearly every major problem facing our nation can be traced back to a failure to budget,” said RSC Chairman Kevin Hern.
“It all boils down to something we’ve heard the President say quite a few times this year: Show me your budget, and I’ll show you your values,” Hern added. “Our values are clearly on display with this budget.”
In their effort to protect conservative values, the RSC budget lays out a vision of smaller government funded by lower taxes on businesses and individuals. It calls for cuts in a wide variety of programs throughout the federal government, including rescinding IRS funding for additional personnel, eliminating climate funding at the Department of Energy, reducing foreign aid, prohibiting funding for high-speed rail, and eliminating the National Labor Relations Board, among many other things. And it takes aim at a variety of “woke” political enemies, including diversity programs in the military and proponents of “critical race theory.”
Democrats revive a line of attack: The White House was quick to highlight the fact that Republicans had renewed their efforts to reduce Social Security and Medicare benefits – something that GOP lawmakers seemed to have abandoned in the face of criticism from Democrats during the debt and budget negotiations earlier this year.
“The hardcore MAGA budget just released by the Republican Study Committee – which represents a majority of House Republicans – amounts to a devastating attack on Medicare, Social Security, and Americans’ access to health coverage and prescription drugs,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “Worse yet, House Republicans want to impose these disastrous cuts for hardworking families alongside massive tax cuts for the super-rich and big corporations. In fact, they’re proposing a total of $5 trillion in tax cuts skewed to the wealthy and big corporations – cutting taxes by at least $175,000 per year for the wealthiest 0.1 percent with incomes over $4 million.”
Saying that “Republicans have shown us who they are this week,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries also hammered the RSC plan. “Extreme MAGA Republicans have a three-part economic agenda,” Jeffries told reporters at his weekly press conference Thursday. “One, they want to end Social Security as we know it. Two, massive tax cuts for billionaires and wealthy corporations. Three, dramatic spending cuts that will hurt the health, the safety and the economic well-being of the American people.”
Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, an advocacy group that seeks to protect and expand Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, was also highly critical of the Republican proposal. “This budget would destroy Social Security as we know it,” Altman said in a statement. “The budget fearmongers about Social Security’s modest shortfall (still a decade away) but then rules out any options for raising revenue … That leaves benefit cuts as the only ‘solution.’”
Even some conservatives have been critical. Rick Moran, a writer at the right-wing commentary site PJ Media, rejected the plan as a work of fantasy. “The act of taking $16 trillion out of the economy in just a decade would destroy the nation’s finances, and force tens of millions of people into poverty,” Moran wrote. “It will never pass muster even in the House with the Republican majority. … Instead of playing politics, how about some serious thinking from the right?”
The bottom line: The RSC budget plan is largely a messaging device, and its message of smaller government, lower taxes and anti-woke politics arrived loud and clear. While it has no chance of becoming law at the moment, it plants a flag for Republicans as they seek to shape the nation’s fiscal trajectory in the future.