While most of Capitol Hill is focused on trying to avoid a government shutdown next month, one high-ranking Republican has been busy working on a longer-term spending plan he hopes his party will embrace.
House Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington is promising an “imminent” markup on a 10-year balanced budget proposal that he says would not touch Social Security or Medicare. He says he’s been having some positive conversations with Rep. Matt Gaetz, the conservative gadfly from Florida, on the subject.
“We’re gonna balance it and we’re gonna save $16 trillion,” Arrington told Semafor on Wednesday morning, calling the plan a “blueprint.”
A GOP House Budget committee aide said the markup would be held Sept. 20.
During a Tuesday floor speech, Gaetz, who has recently been threatening to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy over spending issues, mentioned that he favored seeking a vote on a balanced budget amendment among other conservative priorities, even if it risked failing on the floor.
“Matt has been one of the biggest proponents of a balanced budget and he’s been one of my biggest supporters for me getting that balanced budget marked up and on the floor for a vote,” Arrington said. He also said GOP leaders have been “supportive” of his efforts to draft a ten-year budget resolution.
McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
In a statement, Gaetz told Semafor that conservatives support Arrington’s project. “Chairman Arrington has a plan and a vision that inspires House conservatives. We will use every tool at our disposal to get it on the floor for a vote,” he said.
Arrington’s budget is expected to ax certain Pentagon programs on diversity and inclusion and bar funding for gender-affirming medical care, while going light on defense overall.
“We think that there’s plenty of waste and unnecessary spending at the Pentagon,” he said. “And we fully expect — and I know Mike Rogers supports this — we fully expect them to utilize the savings from the waste and the woke and other unnecessary spending as part of redirecting those resources to our readiness.”
But in order to reach $16 trillion in cuts while walling off Social Security, Medicare, and most defense spending, previous analyses have suggested Arrington will need to cut 70% from other federal spending, including popular programs like Medicaid and transportation funding, which could prove to be a tough sell even among fiscal conservatives.