Sep 2, 2014

Cut-Go for Discretionary Authorizations

Purpose

This protocol advances the policy outlined by the Republican Leadership in the fall of 2010 to require that bills authorizing funding for new government programs, activities, or benefits or increases in funding for current programs, activities, or benefits also include the termination or reduction of a current program of equal or greater size.

Protocol

(A)  New Programs: Any bill or joint resolution which authorizes the appropriation of funds for any new agency, office, program, or benefit shall also include language offsetting the full value of such authorization through a reduction in the authorization of current ongoing spending.

(B)   Increased Authorizations: Any bill or joint resolution which increases the authorization of appropriation for any existing agency, office, program, or benefit at a rate that exceeds the overall increase in the relevant function area in the most recent Budget Resolution shall also include language offsetting the full value of such authorization through a reduction in the authorization of current ongoing spending.

(C)   Definitions: For the purposes of this protocol a “reduction in the authorization of current ongoing spending” means the establishment of a new authorization level below the amount actually appropriated for such purposes in the most recent fiscal year. For example, if program “A” was authorized at $100 for FY 2014, but received appropriations of $90, a “reduction in the authorization of current spending” would be an authorization for FY 2015 at an amount below $90. The term “current ongoing spending” means spending for an existing program or activity that is assumed to be ongoing at or above current levels. For example, reducing the authorization for an activity that was already assumed to be ending or receiving reduced appropriations (such as the one-time purchase of equipment or census spending in the years following the census) would not qualify as an offset under this protocol.

(D) Special Rules:

(1) With respect to the Defense Authorization Act, any authorization of appropriations beyond the level specified for the defense function for the relevant fiscal year in the most recent Budget Resolution shall be offset consistent with the other provisions of this protocol.

(2) A provision of a bill or joint resolution that directs, requires, or permits an agency to undertake a particular activity that can reasonably be supported from the agency’s regular administrative budget and for which the bill or joint resolution does not provide a specific authorization of appropriations for such activity, shall be considered as in compliance with this protocol.

(3) A provision of a bill or joint resolution that expands the permissible use of existing funding, but does not itself require or authorize an increase in discretionary appropriations shall be considered as in compliance with this protocol.

(4) A bill or joint resolution that extends an authorization without increasing the amount authorized shall be considered in compliance with this protocol.

(5) A bill or joint resolution that provides an authorization at the level most recently appropriated shall be considered in compliance with this protocol.