U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) last week submitted many of the ideas he received from Utahns for cutting spending to the Deficit Reduction Committee. The Deficit Reduction Committee was created by Congress in early August to come up with a solution to slash $1.5 trillion of our record-high $14.9 trillion national debt.
The recommendations Hatch submitted are the result of numerous meetings and conversations Hatch has had with Utahns across the state who share his commitment to cutting government spending. Additionally, the recommendations incorporate many of the ideas Hatch received from more than 7,500 emails and phone calls from Utahns after Hatch solicited their ideas at the end of the September.
In the letter sent to the two co-chairs of the Deficit Reduction Committee outlining the recommendations, Hatch wrote that вЂњ[o]ver the years, the State of Utah has become a model for other regions of the country.вЂќ
Hatch added that despite the strength of UtahвЂ™s economy and the recognition the state has received for its strong fiscal management, вЂњmost Utahns are concerned about the direction our country is headed. The national unemployment rate continues to hover over nine percent, which, not surprisingly, leaves the majority of Americans feeling uncertain about the strength of our economic recovery and believing that the U.S. is not on the right track.В In this regard, Utahns are no different than the rest of the country.
The recommendations Utahns submitted to Hatch fell within four broad categories вЂ“ taxes and revenue, regulations and economic growth, health care and entitlement spending, and general spending issues. After outlining UtahnsвЂ™ concerns on these issues, Hatch submitted the following specific legislative proposals which are designed to meet the objectives recommended by Utahns:
- Tax reform consistent with the Republican Consensus Recommendations to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (вЂњRepublican Consensus RecommendationsвЂќ) submitted by Senate Finance Committee Republicans on October 14, 2011. Specifically, such reforms should be revenue-neutral when measured against current tax policy and should prioritize economic growth while simplifying the tax code.
- The 3-D Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy, and Deficit Reduction Act (S. 706). This bill would increase U.S. energy production and increase federal revenues by opening up more areas for energy production and exploration, requiring action on stalled permits, and relieving current procedural and regulatory burdens on energy production.
- The American Energy and Western Jobs Act (S. 1027). This legislation would streamline the oil and gas leasing process and require the Administration to establish specific goals for domestic oil and gas production. This process would increase energy production, create jobs, and generate additional revenues.
- The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2011 (S. 299). The REINS Act would require federal agencies to obtain congressional approval for any proposed regulation that could have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, ensuring greater oversight and accountability in the regulatory process and protecting the U.S. economy from harmful regulations.
- The Employee Rights Act (S. 1507). Hatch-introduced legislation that would, among other things, prevent the NLRBвЂ™s recent efforts to expedite union elections and prevent employers from expressing their views to employees. In addition, it would provide substantive protections to employees to ensure that no workforce is unionized without the informed consent of the workers.
- Repeal the Dodd-Frank Act. This law creates massive new bureaucracies, imposes job-killing mandates, and heaps upon American businesses a slew of regulations that are choking off job opportunities for Americans and increasing the costs of credit for U.S. families and businesses. Repealing Dodd-Frank will help to expedite our economic recovery.
- Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The House Budget Committee estimates that PPACA will cost American tax payers $2.6 trillion over 10 years once it is fully implemented. Over that same period, it will add over $700 billion to the federal deficit and continue to add to our national debt. The law also adds $1 trillion in new taxes. Put simply, PPACA is a threat to sustained economic growth and job creation now and in the future. Worst of all, it does nothing to alleviate the rising costs of health care in the U.S.
- Entitlement reform consistent with the Republican Consensus Recommendations. Once again, most of our nationвЂ™s governors shared specific recommendations on Medicaid reform earlier this year. These proposals, which provide a roadmap toward granting states more flexibility in administering the program and reducing long-term costs, are included in the Republican Consensus Recommendations along with proposals to address the costs and long-term insolvency of Medicare and Social Security.
- The Federal Workforce Reduction and Reform Act of 2011 (S. 1476). This legislation Hatch introduced would provide a measurable reduction in the cost and size of the federal government by extending the current pay freeze on civilian federal employees and requiring a 15 percent reduction in the size of the federal workforce and a 75 percent reduction in the federal governmentвЂ™s annual travel budget. Utilizing the methodology of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, these reforms would save the federal government more than $600 billion over ten years.
The full text of HatchвЂ™s letter with UtahnsвЂ™ suggestions can be viewed here.