S 360

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 360

To reduce the deficit by establishing discretionary spending caps for non-security spending.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 16, 2011

Mr. INHOFE (for himself, Mr. BURR, Mr. COBURN, Mr. KYL, Mr. CRAPO, Mr. BOOZMAN, Mr. RISCH, Mr. GRAHAM, Mr. RUBIO, Mr. BLUNT, Mrs. HUTCHISON, Mr. WICKER, Mr. ISAKSON, Mr. BARRASSO, Mr. CHAMBLISS, Mr. JOHANNS, Mr. ENZI, Mr. GRASSLEY, Mr. THUNE, and Mr. CORNYN) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Budget


A BILL

To reduce the deficit by establishing discretionary spending caps for non-security spending.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Honest Expenditure Limitation Program Act of 2011' or the `HELP Act'.

SEC. 2. EXPIRATION.

    This Act shall expire at the end of fiscal year 2021.

TITLE I--CONGRESSIONAL NON-SECURITY DISCRETIONARY SPENDING LIMITS

SEC. 101. NON-SECURITY DISCRETIONARY SPENDING LIMITS.

    (a) In General- Title III of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 is amended by inserting at the end the following:

`NON-SECURITY DISCRETIONARY SPENDING LIMITS

    `Sec. 316. (a) Non-Security Discretionary Spending Limits- It shall not be in order in the House of Representatives or the Senate to consider any bill, joint resolution, amendment, or conference report that includes any provision that would cause the non-security discretionary spending limits as set forth in subsection (b) to be exceeded.

    `(b) Limits- The non-security discretionary spending limits are--

      `(1) for each of the fiscal years 2011 through 2016, the levels provided for non-security discretionary spending in fiscal year 2008; and

      `(2) for fiscal years 2017 through 2021, the amount described in paragraph (1) adjusted annually for inflation by the CPI.

    `(c) Non-Security Spending- In this section, the term `non-security discretionary spending' means discretionary spending other than spending for the Department of Defense, homeland security activities, intelligence related activities within the Department of State, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and national security related activities in the Department of Energy.

    `(d) Limitations on Changes to This Section- It shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would--

      `(1) repeal or otherwise change this section; or

      `(2) exempt any new budget authority, outlays, and receipts from being counted for purposes of this section.

    `(e) Point of Order in the Senate-

      `(1) WAIVER- The provisions of this section shall be waived or suspended in the Senate only--

        `(A) by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members, duly chosen and sworn; or

        `(B) in the case of the defense budget authority, if Congress declares war or authorizes the use of force.

      `(2) APPEAL- Appeals in the Senate from the decisions of the Chair relating to any provision of this section shall be limited to 1 hour, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the appellant and the manager of the measure. An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members of the Senate, duly chosen and sworn, shall be required to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the Chair on a point of order raised under this section.'.

    (b) Table of Contents- The table of contents set forth in section 1(b) of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 315 the following new item:

      `Sec. 316. Non-security discretionary spending limits.'.

TITLE II--STATUTORY NON-SECURITY DISCRETIONARY SPENDING LIMITS

Subtitle A--Definitions, Administration, and Sequestration

SEC. 211. DEFINITIONS.

    In this title:

      (1) ACCOUNT- The term `account' means--

        (A) for discretionary budget authority, an item for which appropriations are made in any appropriation Act; and

        (B) for items not provided for in appropriation Acts, direct spending and outlays therefrom identified in the program and finance schedules contained in the appendix to the Budget of the United States for the current year.

      (2) BREACH- The term `breach' means, for any fiscal year, the amount by which discretionary budget authority enacted for that year exceeds the spending limit for budget authority for that year.

      (3) BUDGET AUTHORITY; NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY; AND OUTLAYS- The terms `budget authority', `new budget authority', and `outlays' have the meanings given to such terms in section 3 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C. 622).

      (4) BUDGET YEAR- The term `budget year' means, with respect to a session of Congress, the fiscal year of the Government that starts on October 1 of the calendar year in which that session begins.

      (5) CBO- The term `CBO' means the Director of the Congressional Budget Office.

      (6) CURRENT- The term `current' means--

        (A) with respect to the Office of Management and Budget estimates included with a budget submission under section 1105(a) of title 31, United States Code, the estimates consistent with the economic and technical assumptions underlying that budget;

        (B) with respect to estimates made after that budget submission that are not included with it, the estimates consistent with the economic and technical assumptions underlying the most recently submitted President's budget; and

        (C) with respect to the Congressional Budget Office, estimates consistent with the economic and technical assumptions as required by section 202(e)(1) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

      (7) CURRENT YEAR- The term `current year' means, with respect to a budget year, the fiscal year that immediately precedes that budget year.

      (8) DISCRETIONARY APPROPRIATIONS AND DISCRETIONARY BUDGET AUTHORITY- The terms `discretionary appropriations' and `discretionary budget authority' shall have the meaning given such terms in section 3(4) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

      (9) NON-SECURITY DISCRETIONARY SPENDING LIMIT- The term `non-security discretionary spending limit' shall mean the amounts specified in section 222.

      (10) OMB- The term `OMB' means the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

      (11) SEQUESTRATION- The term `sequestration' means the cancellation or reduction of budget authority (except budget authority to fund mandatory programs) provided in appropriation Acts.

SEC. 212. ADMINISTRATION AND EFFECT OF SEQUESTRATION.

    (a) Timetable- The timetable with respect to this title is as follows:
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On or before:                                                                                                                                               Action to be completed: 
5 days before the President's budget submission required under section 1105 of title 31, United States Code                         CBO Discretionary Sequestration Preview Report. 
The President's budget submission                                                                                                   OMB Discretionary Sequestration Preview Report. 
10 days after end of session                                                                                                          CBO Final Discretionary Sequestration Report. 
15 days after end of session                                                                                OMB Final Discretionary Sequestration/Presidential Sequestration Order. 
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    (b) Presidential Order-

      (1) IN GENERAL- On the date specified in subsection (a), if in its Final Sequestration Report, OMB estimates that any sequestration is required, the President shall issue an order fully implementing without change all sequestrations required by the OMB calculations set forth in that report. This order shall be effective on issuance.

      (2) SPECIAL RULE- If the date specified for the submission of a Presidential order under subsection (a) falls on a Sunday or legal holiday, such order shall be issued on the following day.

    (c) Effects of Sequestration- The effects of sequestration shall be as follows:

      (1) Budgetary resources sequestered from any account shall be permanently cancelled, except as provided in paragraph (5).

      (2) Except as otherwise provided, the same percentage sequestration shall apply to all programs, projects, and activities within a budget account (with programs, projects, and activities as delineated in the appropriation Act or accompanying report for the relevant fiscal year covering that account).

      (3) Administrative regulations or similar actions implementing a sequestration shall be made within 120 days of the sequestration order. To the extent that formula allocations differ at different levels of budgetary resources within an account, program, project, or activity, the sequestration shall be interpreted as producing a lower total appropriation, with the remaining amount of the appropriation being obligated in a manner consistent with program allocation formulas in substantive law.

      (4) Except as otherwise provided in this part, obligations or budgetary resources in sequestered accounts shall be reduced only in the fiscal year in which a sequester occurs.

      (5) Budgetary resources sequestered in special fund accounts and offsetting collections sequestered in appropriation accounts shall not be available for obligation during the fiscal year in which the sequestration occurs, but shall be available in subsequent years to the extent otherwise provided in law.

    (d) Submission and Availability of Reports- Each report required by this section shall be submitted, in the case of CBO, to the House of Representatives, the Senate, and OMB and, in the case of OMB, to the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the President on the day it is issued. On the following day a notice of the report shall be printed in the Federal Register.

Subtitle B--Non-Security Discretionary Spending Limits

SEC. 221. DISCRETIONARY SEQUESTRATION REPORTS.

    (a) Discretionary Sequestration Preview Reports-

      (1) REPORTING REQUIREMENT- On the dates specified in section 212(a), OMB shall report to the President and Congress and CBO shall report to Congress a Discretionary Sequestration Preview Report regarding discretionary sequestration based on laws enacted through those dates.

      (2) DISCRETIONARY- The Discretionary Sequestration Preview Report shall set forth estimates for the current year and each subsequent year through 2021 of the applicable discretionary spending limits and a projection of budget authority exceeding discretionary limits subject to sequester.

      (3) EXPLANATION OF DIFFERENCES- The OMB reports shall explain the differences between OMB and CBO estimates for each item set forth in this subsection.

    (b) Discretionary Sequestration Reports- On the dates specified in section 212(a), OMB and CBO shall issue Discretionary Sequestration Reports, reflecting laws enacted through those dates, containing all of the information required in the Discretionary Sequestration Preview Reports.

    (c) Final Discretionary Sequestration Reports-

      (1) REPORTING REQUIREMENTS- On the dates specified in section 212(a), OMB and CBO shall each issue a Final Discretionary Sequestration Report, updated to reflect laws enacted through those dates.

      (2) DISCRETIONARY SPENDING- The Final Discretionary Sequestration Reports shall set forth estimates for each of the following:

        (A) For the current year and each subsequent year through 2021, the applicable discretionary spending limits.

        (B) For the current year, if applicable, and the budget year; the new budget authority and the breach, if any.

        (C) The sequestration percentages necessary to eliminate the breach.

        (D) For the budget year, for each account to be sequestered, the level of enacted, sequesterable budget authority and resulting estimated outlays flowing therefrom.

      (3) EXPLANATION OF DIFFERENCES- The OMB report shall explain--

        (A) any differences between OMB and CBO estimates for the amount of any breach and for any required discretionary sequestration percentages; and

        (B) differences in the amount of sequesterable resources for any budget account to be reduced if such difference is greater than $5,000,000.

    (d) Economic and Technical Assumptions- In all reports required by this section, OMB shall use the same economic and technical assumptions as used in the most recent budget submitted by the President under section 1105(a) of title 31, United States Code.

SEC. 222. LIMITS.

    (a) Discretionary Spending Limits- As used in this title, the term `non-security discretionary spending limit' shall have the same meaning as in section 316 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

    (b) Enforcement-

      (1) SEQUESTRATION- On the date specified in section 212(a), there shall be a sequestration to eliminate a budget-year breach.

      (2) ELIMINATING A BREACH- Each non-security discretionary account shall be reduced by a dollar amount calculated by multiplying the enacted level of budget authority for that year in that account at that time by the uniform percentage necessary to eliminate a breach of the discretionary spending limit.

      (3) PART-YEAR APPROPRIATIONS- If, on the date the report is issued under paragraph (1), there is in effect an Act making continuing appropriations for part of a fiscal year for any budget account, then the dollar sequestration calculated for that account under paragraph (2) shall be subtracted from--

        (A) the annualized amount otherwise available by law in that account under that or a subsequent part-year appropriation; and

        (B) when a full-year appropriation for that account is enacted, from the amount otherwise provided by the full-year appropriation.

      (4) LOOK-BACK- If, after June 30, an appropriation for the fiscal year in progress is enacted that causes a breach for that year (after taking into account any previous sequestration), the discretionary spending limit for the next fiscal year shall be reduced by the amount of that breach.

      (5) WITHIN-SESSION SEQUESTRATION REPORTS AND ORDER- If an appropriation for a fiscal year in progress is enacted (after Congress adjourns to end the session for that budget year and before July 1 of that fiscal year) that causes a breach, 10 days later CBO shall issue a report containing the information required in section 221(c). Fifteen days after enactment, OMB shall issue a report containing the information required in section 221(c). On the same day as the OMB report, the President shall issue an order fully implementing without change all sequestrations required by the OMB calculations set forth in that report. This order shall be effective on issuance.

    (c) Estimates-

      (1) CBO ESTIMATES- As soon as practicable after Congress completes action on any legislation providing discretionary appropriations, CBO shall provide an estimate to OMB of that legislation.

      (2) OMB ESTIMATES- Not later than 7 calendar days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) after the date of enactment of any discretionary appropriations, OMB shall transmit a report to the Senate and to the House of Representatives containing--

        (A) the CBO estimate of that legislation;

        (B) an OMB estimate of that legislation using current economic and technical assumptions; and

        (C) an explanation of any difference between the 2 estimates.

      (3) DIFFERENCES- If during the preparation of the report under paragraph (2), OMB determines that there is a difference between the OMB and CBO estimates, OMB shall consult with the Committees on the Budget of the House of Representatives and the Senate regarding that difference and that consultation, to the extent practicable, shall include written communication to such committees that affords such committees the opportunity to comment before the issuance of that report.

      (4) ASSUMPTIONS AND GUIDELINES- OMB and CBO shall prepare estimates under this paragraph in conformance with scorekeeping guidelines determined after consultation among the House and Senate Committees on the Budget, CBO, and OMB.

END