Out of Control Policy Blog

Three-Quarters of Americans Support a Federal Government Spending Cap

The Hill reports

Republican lawmakers responded to the government hitting its debt limit with proposals for spending caps. The Treasury Department announced Monday that it was tapping into a pair of government employee pension funds as it reached its borrowing capacity. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) both responded to the news by touting their spending-cap proposals as the way to rein in the nation's debt.

…Corker's plan would set a cap on discretionary and mandatory spending, which would eventually lower the current spending rate of 24.7 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) to 20.6 percent. If lawmakers fail to meet that cap, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would be required to make cuts throughout the federal budget to meet the prescribed limit. 

…Kingston's plan would go even further than Corker's, capping spending at 18 percent of GDP. Like Corker's plan, it would also require OMB to make across-the-board cuts to get spending to meet that cap if lawmakers cannot. Both proposals would require a two-thirds majority in Congress to override the caps.

The recent Reason-Rupe national telephone survey of 1,200 adults found that over 74 percent of Americans say the federal government should have spending cap that prevents it from spending more than it takes in during a fiscal year. Sixty-four percent of Democrats support implementing a spending cap, as do 76 percent of independents and nearly 85 percent of Republicans. 

Agree with a Federal Spending Cap

Just 19 percent of Americans, say they “strongly disagree” or “disagree” with capping federal spending. Slightly more than a quarter of Democrats, 27.5 percent, are against a federal spending cap. And opposition to a government spending cap drops significantly from there: only 17 percent of independents and 10 percent of Republicans oppose a cap. 

Reason-Rupe Poll Federal Spending Cap


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