Rep. Dave Brat: 'We Have a Fundamental Budget Problem Coming Our Way in 11 Years'

Susan Jones | December 17, 2015 | 11:28am EST
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Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) is an economist and a member of the House Budget Committee. (AP File Photo)

( - Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, says he came to Washington to cut spending, not add to the deficits and debt that will crush future generations.

He spoke on Thursday, one day after House leaders, working with the White House,  produced a $1.1 trillion spending bill. And Brat warned of worse to come:

"We have a fundamental budget problem coming our way in eleven years. All federal revenues will go only to entitlement and mandatory spending programs and interest on the debt in eleven years. All federal revenues will be used just to pay for those programs. So, that's Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, Bush prescription drug program, etc.," he told CPAN's "Washington Journal."

"If that's true, and it is...there won't be one dollar left for..the military, education, transportation, running government, in eleven years. We'll have to deficit-finance the entire budget to run the government."

Brat, an economist and a member of the Budget Committee, noted that Congress deals with only one third of the budget -- the discretionary part. Two-thirds of the budget is mandatory spending on the big programs such as Medicare and Social Security. "If you want to change those, you have to change those through law."

The looming debt crisis is "not a Wall-Street-type financial crisis," Brat said, but it does have "huge implications" for the American public.

If entitlement programs suck up all federal revenues, "there won't be any money to block-grant back down to the states," and that means "localities will have a harder time."

Brat advocates reforming, not cutting, the mandatory spending programs so they won't be insolvent by the next generation. That includes raising the retirement age for future beneficiaries.

"So we've got some heavy lifting to do." He noted that House Speaker Paul Ryan has "expertise" in both entitlement reform and budgeting, "so hopefully we can do that."

As for the monstrous spending bill produced this week, "Everyone threw in the kitchen sink," Brat said." "I don't think the average American is going to be happy with the product at all. We broke the budget caps that we promised at the beginning of the year by at least $80 billion over two years. We lost $106 billion in deficit reduction. And so just on the numbers, I'm a no vote."

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