Congressman Jim Bridenstine Announces ‘Provide for the Common Defense Act’
Speaking in South Carolina this evening, Congressman Jim Bridenstine announced legislation he is sponsoring to reverse damage to U.S. national security and reform entitlement spending while reducing the deficit by $200 billion. The Oklahoma 1st District Congressman spoke to “The Charleston Meeting,” a nationally recognized gathering of conservative business leaders, journalists, and elected officials. Bridenstine was invited by businessman, best-selling author, and FoxNews contributor Mallory Factor who organized the event.
On Tuesday, Congressman Jim Bridenstine (OK-01) and Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) will introduce the Provide for the Common Defense Act (PCDA). The bill would reduce the deficit by $200 billion over ten years by reforming entitlements as requested by the President in his 2014 budget and unwinding for two years the devastation to national defense caused by sequestration.
Congressman Bridenstine said:
“China is attempting to control international waters and airspace as its own while also endeavoring to build the world’s largest Navy and Air Force including state-of-the-art aircraft carriers and nuclear ballistic missile submarines. Russia is investing $750 billion into military modernization and buildup while threatening nuclear war and invading its former Soviet satellite states which are striving for freedom and independence. These aggressive actions are an attempt to deny free markets and American freedom of navigation. In response, President Obama is hollowing out our military, emboldening our enemies to be even more aggressive, and encouraging our friends to align with the East. This bill strengthens defense, reforms entitlements, and reduces the national deficit by $200 billion.”
Congressman Lamborn said:
“Washington has a spending problem, but incessantly and mindlessly cutting national security will not get us out of our fiscal mess. Completely eliminating the Department of Defense (DOD) would not even pay off this year’s deficit – let alone seriously reduce our $17 trillion national debt. Congress needs to give our military relief rather than use it as a punching bag. Even President Obama must realize that out-of-control entitlement spending is drowning our country in debt. Our bill cancels national security sequestration for two years by enacting a few Obama-endorsed reforms that will actually produce over $300 billion in savings over ten years. Two-thirds of the savings will go toward debt reduction.”
Even without the Budget Control Act-required sequestration, our national security budget is scheduled to receive a $650 billion cut over ten years. Sequestration is an additional cut – a blunt and imprecise “meat axe” in the words of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta – that mindlessly cuts another $500 billion.
The Provide for the Common Defense Act cancels sequestration for the “revised security category” in FY 2014 and FY 2015. This change brings national security spending back up to levels consistent with the House-passed “Ryan” Budget, the conservative Republican Study Committee budget, and the Budget Control Act caps.
PCDA enacts mandatory spending reforms resulting in approximately $307 billion in savings over one decade. The bill only enacts reforms proposed by President Obama in his FY 2014 budget request. The 3-to-1 ratio of budgetary savings to increases sensibly restores the national security budget in a fiscally responsible manner. The remaining two-thirds of savings is used to help pay down the debt.
Bridenstine will be speaking in South Carolina again in January, at the 2014 South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention at Myrtle Beach. The four largest Tea Party organizations are sponsoring this convention, Tea Party Patriots, FreedomWorks, Tea Party Express and Americans for Prosperity. The Congressman plans to have major policy initiatives to announce at that event.
Sequestration already cut nearly $32 billion last fiscal year, forcing the Department of Defense to furlough civilian employees, ground one-third of combat aircraft, cancel training for Army units, delay procurement of weapons systems, and defer equipment maintenance.
Sequestration will cut $54 billion annually from the national security budget over the next decade. According to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, this year’s sequestration bill will force our armed forces to take at minimum the following actions:
· Furlough civilian employees
· Freeze all promotions
· Stand down two Navy air wings
· Cancel most Army combined training center training
· Dramatically reduce active Air Force flying hours
· Cut procurement by 15-20% – buying fewer ships, planes, ground vehicles, satellites, and other weapons systems
· Cut research and development by 15-20%
The Bridenstine-Lamborn bill enacts reforms proposed by President Obama in his FY 2014 budget request. These provisions include the following:
· Medicare – Total savings: $60 billion
o Increases income-related premiums under Medicare Parts B and D.
o Increases the Medicare Part B deductible for new enrollees by $100 over five years.
o Caps the overall rate of return for providers of subsidized crop insurance at 12 percent.
o Caps reimbursement for administrative and operating costs at $900 million for the 2014 insurance year, and increases the cap in subsequent years by the inflation factor established in the 2011 Standard Reinsurance Agreement.
o Reduces the premium subsidy farmers receive by three basis points for all crop insurance policies with premium subsidies greater than 50 percent.
o Increases Federal employee’s contributions toward their accruing retirement costs, from 0.8 percent to 2.0 percent of pay, over the course of three years.
o Eliminates the Federal Employee Retirement System Annuity Supplement for new employees.
o Changes the definition of “price index” for the purposes of federal retirement programs from Consumer Price Index (CPI) to Chained Consumer Price Index.
· Chained Consumer Price Index to calculate cost-of-living adjustments- Total Savings: $216 billion
o Changes the way cost of living adjustments are calculated for Social Security and other mandatory spending programs. The section replaces the Consumer Price Index (CPI) with the Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U).
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Sheryl Kaufman, Communications Director
Email Address: Sheryl.Kaufman@mail.house.gov