Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) today raised a budget point of order under the Senate’s pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rule against the Great American Outdoors Act, which would increase the deficit by more than $17 billion over the next 10 years.
“This bill is just the latest in an unprecedented spending spree Congress has been on for the past year,” said Chairman Enzi. “During this fiscal year we have already run up a deficit of $1.9 trillion, more than twice the size of the deficit we ran at the same time last year. We also just added $2.4 trillion to our debt mere months ago as the nation responded to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Previously, Enzi pushed to include an amendment that would have created a fully paid-for fund to address the deferred maintenance backlogs at federal land management agencies without adding to our debt. The amendment raised park entrance fees and America the Beautiful passes by $5 and $20, respectively, and certain visitor visa fees by $16 and $25. The amendment was cosponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mike Braun (R-IN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Mike Lee (R-UT).
“We must address this backlog responsibly and permanently without adding to our debt. Unfortunately, the Great American Outdoors Act represents a one-time fix that is neither responsible nor permanent,” said Chairman Enzi. “We need to start looking for ways to get this spending under control instead of adding to the already massive debt burden being placed on future generations. But if we won’t pay for even a part of this bill, what will we pay for?”
Enzi also noted that the bill would make new funding for the Land and Water Conservation (LWCF) mandatory, which would add $7.7 billion to the debt over the next 10 years and even more in later years. Enzi said that making LWCF spending mandatory would do nothing to ease our current debt crisis and would remove important Congressional oversight over how the money is spent.
“Mandatory spending is always renewed and never voted on or evaluated again,” said Chairman Enzi. “Instead we are taking away that protection and increasing mandatory spending even more without increasing revenue. That means more additional national debt each year without a single vote.”