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November 5, 2015
BIPARTISAN BUDGET Act of 2015
Congressman Glenn 'GT' Thompson Answers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Was the BBA of 2015 another top-down deal negotiated without full input from all Members of Congress?
Yes, I think that accurately describes this legislation, and I for one am tired of that process for bringing solutions forward! That said, the BBA of 2015 did provide some needed overdue reforms that were welcomed. I am excited about Speaker Paul Ryan’s leadership and his commitment to returning business to the front lines of our Committees for legislative solutions.
Does the BBA of 2015 raise current spending caps on defense by a little over $40 billion dollars?
Yes, it does. President Obama has been laying off the men and women of our military at alarming rates. The rogue actions of Russia, Iran and ISIS can be traced in in some measure to the reduction of our military. Disproportionate cuts to our national security under sequestration have emboldened our enemies. With an active duty son who was wounded in combat I admit I am more than a little biased. Our troops require the funded needed to be effective and a deterrent for those that would seek to do us harm.
Does the BBA of 2015 raise current spending caps on nondefense by a little over $40 billion dollars?
Yes, it does. Unfortunately, this is the requirement the democrats insisted on to agree to funding our Troops and giving in to the mandatory spending cuts that we achieved in the BBA of 2015. My commitment is to do my best at directing this spending into strategic investments such as Job Training and Career and Technical Education that leads to good paying jobs and less government dependence.
I have heard that the BBA of 2015 suspends the debt ceiling through March 2017 and gives the President a blank check for out of control spending?
There is no blank check for spending. The BBA of 2015 does suspend the debt ceiling through March 2017. It, however, does not authorize any additional discretionary spending however! The debt only goes up according to the spending and tax provisions that Congress authorizes.
Does the BBA of 2015 increase the debt and a future need for borrowing?
No, with the included mandatory spending reforms there is less debt. Actually what drive the need for future borrowing is largely birthdays! Medicare and Social Security are the two largest drivers of mandatory spending. These programs are in need of structural reform just to be able to save them financially. They pay out far more money than what is collected. The BBA of 2015 does include actions that initiates needed reforms while protecting current Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries.
What reforms are in the BBA of 2015?
Compliance efforts that rein in both tax and disability fraud are included in this legislation. When the expanded unemployment was previously rolled back we saw an explosion of Social Security Disability applications. These reforms will be a significant savings and are long overdue. The BBA of 2015 also prevents a significant increase to Medicare Part B premiums for older adults. Additionally, individuals who are truly dependent on Social Security Disability would have seen a dramatic reduction in income. All this was prevented.
If Social Security is on track to insolvency why was money used from the payroll tax to prop up the Social Security Disability Income program?
Citizens who are disabled and depending on SSDI were at imminent risk of having their limited living income cut. This would be experienced by all SS recipients in another 20 years. Doing a short-term fix from within the SS program itself is not unreasonable given our initiation of long-term structural reforms to save the entire program.
Did the BBA of 2015 require selling of 58 million barrels from our Nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) at a bargain basement price of $49 per barrel to fund the bill?
Yes, the BBA of 2015 calls for selling of 58 million barrels of oil to generate approximately $5.05 billion dollars. The SPR was created at a time when the general consensus was that America was running out of fossil fuels. Today we know how short-sighted that was. America is now among the largest producers of energy with vast amounts of known reserves. Refilling the SPR will not be a problem. In fact this will be a stimulus for well-paying energy producing jobs. Given the significant resources that the United States is sitting on we should not see oil approaching $87 a barrel anytime soon. Based on simple economics $47 a barrel oil will be closer to the new norm not the exception. Finally our enemies such as Russia whom are dependent on an energy economy are suffering under this new norm.
Is it true that the BBA of 2015 repealed a section of the Affordable Care Act?
Glenn 'GT' Thompson
For media information, contact : Media@GTThompson.com