The Border Security and Dignity Plan
A Comprehensive Strategy to Secure the Border, Fix the Immigration System, and Provide Immigrants the Chance to be Productive Contributors to our Economy
Department of Homeland Security Mission Statement:
The Department of Homeland Security protects the American homeland from and prepares for terrorism and other hazards in both the physical and cyber realms, provides for secure and free movement of trade and travel, and enforces U.S. immigration laws impartially.
To truly secure the homeland, a conservative Administration needs to return the department to the right mission, the right size, and the right budget. This would include reorganizing the department and shifting significant resources away from several supporting components to the essential operational components. Prioritizing border security and immigration enforcement, including detention and deportation, is critical if we are regain control of the border, repair the historic damage done by the Biden Administration, return to a lawful and orderly immigration system, and protect the homeland from terrorism and public safety threats. This also includes consolidating the pieces of the fragmented immigration system into one agency to fulfill the mission more efficiently.
The Binkley Administration DHS will:
1. Secure and control the border to end human, drug, and weapons trafficking
2. Thoroughly enforce immigration laws
3. Correctly and efficiently adjudicate immigration benefit applications while rejecting fraudulent claims
My plan deploys physical barriers, tactical infrastructure, technology, and personnel along the border where it is most effective. Specifically, it authorizes at least $35 billion in funding to enhance and improve infrastructure and technology between and at ports of entry. It also reforms the U.S. asylum system to make a final determination of asylum eligibility for most asylum seekers at the border within 60 days.
The plan provides Dreamers, including DACA recipients, and certain Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders with an opportunity to adjust to lawful status. It also establishes the Dignity Program, which provides undocumented immigrants with an opportunity to obtain legal status if they meet certain requirements.
The plan would expand the statutory definition of “returning worker” to include any worker who entered on an H-2B visa in any one of the previous three fiscal years.
The plan would create a new uncapped temporary worker visa program for current unauthorized farmworkers called Certified Agricultural Worker (CAW) status. CAW visas would be renewable and five-and-a-half years in length.
The plan updates aspects of the U.S. legal immigration system with an aim towards protecting family unity, reducing backlogs, and improving employment-based opportunities.
Part 1: Border Security
- Border Security: Barriers and Technology. Authorizes $25 billion, available in segments until fiscal year (FY) 2031, to complete “an impenetrable border infrastructure system.” This system would include physical barriers and barrier levees. It would also include associated detection technology, roads, lighting, and technology to fully secure the border.
- The bill includes several provisions related to border infrastructure and technology, including investing in tunnel task forces, nonintrusive inspection operations, use of an electromagnetic spectrum, and more. It also updates current law to explicitly authorize the construction of physical barriers and barrier levees.
- Ports of Entry. Authorizes $10 billion over fiscal years (FYs) 2024 to 2028, or $2 billion each year, for improvements, including the construction of new ports or modernization and expansion of current ports as needed.
- Within five years, DHS must expand vehicle, cargo, and pedestrian inspection lanes at ports of entry.
- Personnel. The plan requires CBP to hire, train, and maintain by September 30, 2025 a minimum staffing level of 22,478 Border Patrol agents, 27,725 Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers at ports of entry, and 1,200 CBP processing coordinators.
- The plan authorizes recruitment and retention bonuses, as well as special pay for personnel assigned to remote and hard-to fill locations. It also increases the minimum pay for Border Patrol agents at the GS-12 level by at least 14 percent.
- Biometric Exit. The plan directs DHS to implement a biometric exit data system at all air, land, and sea ports within five years. It authorizes $100 million in funding.
- Operation Stonegarden. Under the plan, this grant program is funded at $110 million for fiscal years (FYs) 2024 to 2028, up from $90 in FY 2023. The grant provides funds to state, county, tribal, and other entities near the border to help enhance border security.
Part 2: Immigration Infrastructure Fund
The plan establishes an Immigration Infrastructure Fund, which would be used to pay for the new infrastructure, personnel, and others costs associated with the bill. Under the plan, a fee of 1.5 percent would be levied from the income of individuals provided work authorization under the Dignity Program. That money would then be deposited into the immigration infrastructure fund.
Part 3: Asylum Reform
The plan would reform the U.S. asylum system to adjudicate most asylum claims made at the border via an asylum officer within 60 days and prevent the release of most individuals from custody while they wait for a final determination on their claim.
Establish Five Humanitarian Campuses. The plan would create five humanitarian campuses (HC’s) managed by CBP along the southern border. Migrants would be held in these facilities. Asylum officers would conduct asylum interviews and make final determinations on these campuses. Migrants would have access to medical staff, licensed social workers, mental health professionals, child advocates, and private organizations that provide humanitarian assistance and legal counsel.
Initial Screening (First 15 Days). Under the plan, migrants would receive a 72-hour rest period. After that, HC staff would provide an initial screening within 15 days. Staff will conduct criminal background checks, analyze biometric data, verify identification, conduct medical assessments, screen for human trafficking victims, and perform an initial credible fear interview.
Migrants unable to establish a credible fear during an initial screening are subject to expedited removal from the U.S.
Secondary Screening and Asylum Determination (Days 15 to 60). Within 45 days of passing the initial credible fear interview, a trained U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asylum officer would review the individual’s asylum claim and make a final determination. Asylum officers must deny, approve, or refer complex/uncertain cases to an immigration judge.
Asylum seekers would have limited options to request additional review of such decisions, with denials resulting in expedited removal.
Referral to Immigration Judge. For those referred to an immigration judge, the plan would create a system by which asylum seekers would receive a notice to appear, be released from the humanitarian campus, take part in a case management program, and be monitored via a GPS tracker and weekly check-ins.
In-Country Processing in Latin America. The U.S. would establish five facilities in the Western Hemisphere where migrants could be pre-screened for asylum, unmarried children under 21 with parents legally in the U.S. could be considered for family reunification, and potential noncitizen workers could learn about work visas or other pathways to citizenship.
As part of this section, a new humanitarian visa would be created for individuals who choose to be pre-screened for asylum and have credible cases. The visa would be capped annually at the same level as the annual refugee ceiling.
Sponsorship of Unaccompanied Minors. The plan requires criminal history background checks – with biometric samples where appropriate – for potential sponsors of unaccompanied children and other adult members of the household, prohibit placement of an unaccompanied child with potential sponsors who are being tried or have been convicted of especially serious offenses, mandate regular follow-up calls with unaccompanied children once released, and impose heightened criminal penalties for fraud connected to the transfer of custody of an unaccompanied migrant child.
Two-Strike Policy. Under this provision, anyone who crossed between ports of entry would be logged and directed to apply for asylum at a port of entry. If they tried to cross between ports of entry again, they would be subject to expedited removal.
Part 4: Visa Security & Integrity
The plan would expand the Visa Security Program (VSP) managed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the 75 most high-risks posts worldwide, require CBP to employ electronic passport scanning and some facial recognition technology at airports, require a report on visa overstays, direct DHS to ensure the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is available to CBP officers at all ports of entry, and permit DNA verification of family relationships on a case-by-case basis with the intent to prevent human trafficking, among other provisions.
Part 5: Transnational Criminal Organizations
The plan aims to combat drug trafficking organizations, gangs, and criminals. It would require the DHS Secretary to designate certain cartels as Special Transnational Criminal Organizations and increases penalties for smuggling noncitizens into the U.S. if a firearm is involved. The plan also increases penalties for those charged with illegal re-entry to the U.S. In addition, the plan incorporates “Sarah’s Law,” which would mandate detention for certain noncitizens charged with crimes that resulted in someone’s death or serious bodily injury.
Part 6: Mandatory E-Verify
The plan would require employers to attest, under penalty of perjury, that they have verified that a potential employee is not an undocumented immigrant. Employers must verify workers’ employment eligibility through a new Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS) administered by DHS. If the employer gets confirmation that they are ineligible for employment after hiring a foreign national, the employer must terminate the employment.
This section would become mandatory in different timeframes for employers, ranging from 6 to 24 months, depending on the number of employees: 10,000 or more employees (6 months), 500 to 10,000 (12 months), 20 to 500 (18 months), and one or more employees (24 months).
Employers of agricultural workers would have up to 30 months to comply with the provisions of the law regardless of the number of employees.
The plan would increase civil and criminal penalties for persons engaged in a pattern of systemic violations.
Part 7: Development in Central America
The plan requires the Secretary of State to develop a four-year strategy to tackle the root causes of irregular migration from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, with a focus on strengthening the rule of law, tackling poverty, confronting gang violence, and other similar issues. The plan would also expand the investigation and prosecution of human smuggling and trafficking networks and increase the criminal penalties of smugglers to up to 20 years in prison.
Part 8: Dreamers
The plan incorporates a version of the Dream Act, which allows young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives to obtain legal status. This section could allow up to 1.9 million Dreamers, including the roughly 600,000 DACA recipients, to live and work in the U.S.
Dreamers and DACA recipients would be eligible for a “conditional permanent resident” status valid for up to 10 years that would protect them from deportation, allow them to work legally in the U.S., and permit them to travel outside the country.
To qualify as a “conditional permanent resident,” individuals must have continuously lived in the U.S. for three years, entered the U.S. at an age younger than 18 years old, and graduated high school and/or be enrolled in secondary school.
Dreamers and DACA recipients can remove the conditional basis of their status to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) if they achieve one of the following:
Obtain a college or graduate degree;
Serve at least three years in the U.S. military; or,
Are employed and working for at least four years.
Applicants may be required to pay a fee of up to $495.
The bill would extend in-state tuition access in higher education to Dreamers and DACA-recipients.
Part 9: TPS Holders
This section includes a version of the American Promise Act, which allows certain TPS and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders to adjust to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. It could allow around 335,000 TPS holders to continue to live and work in the U.S.
TPS holders would be eligible for LPR status if they have been continuously present in the U.S. for three years and were eligible for TPS status as of March 8, 2021, and meet certain other requirements, including a background check.
The provision would generally help most TPS recipients from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, but the cut-off date would not include those from Venezuela, Afghanistan, Haiti, and Ukraine.
Applicants may be required to pay a fee of up to $1,140.
Part 10: Dignity Program
The Dignity Program would allow undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to earn legal status if they pass a criminal background check, pay back any taxes owed, and meet other requirements. Participants must also pay restitution to be eligible.
Dignity Program. The plan establishes a seven-year deferred action program that would grant employment and travel authorization to undocumented residents who have been continuously in the U.S. for at least five years before the plan was enacted. Under the program, participants must pay a fine and contribute to the American Worker Fund.
The program requires participants to pay taxes and enroll in health coverage, while barring use of any federal means-tested benefits or entitlement programs.
During the duration of the program, participants would need to be gainfully employed or in school for at least four years with limited exceptions.
All noncitizens who are present in the U.S. without lawful status are directed to depart if they do not apply for the Dignity Program or participate in other alternatives.
Restitution and Good Standing. Participants must pay a total of $5,000 over the seven years of the program, check-in with DHS every two years, and remain in overall good public standing.
Continued Legal Presence. Those who successfully complete the Dignity Program would have two avenues for continued legal presence:
1) Dignity Status. A five-year lawful status with employment authorization and the ability to re-enter the U.S., which can be renewed every five years;
2) Redemption Program. A five-year conditional redemption status with employment and travel authorization. Individuals must complete the seven-year Dignity Program to qualify. Upon completion of the Redemption Program, individuals could have an opportunity to adjust to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.
Individuals must learn English and U.S. civics, and contribute to their community, including through local volunteer work or continued contributions into the American Worker Fund.
The implementation of a mandatory E-Verify System and certification of a fully secure border must be completed before individuals can obtain permanent legal status.
American Worker Fund. The plan establishes a fund with contributions from the Dignity and Redemption Programs. The fund would manage grants to states and organizations to help U.S. citizens looking for work or transitioning to different careers. The grants would cover apprenticeships, work-based earn-and-learn programs, and educational opportunities for high-demand careers. The bill aims to cover the upskill or to retrain at least one American worker for every participant in the Dignity Program.
Part 11: H-2B Cap Relief
A “returning worker” includes any worker who entered on an H2B visa for seasonal guest workers in any of the previous three fiscal years.
The plan authorizes the Department of Labor (DOL) to investigate and take action as required to ensure compliance of the H-2b program, to establish a complaint process, and to impose remedies including temporary or permanent disqualification from the program for multiple violations.
The plan requires H-2B employers to develop and maintain worksite safety and compliance plans. It also prohibits employers or recruiters from receiving fees for the recruitment of H-2B employees.
Part 12: Certified Agricultural Worker (CAW)
The CAW visa would be available for unauthorized immigrants who have spent at least 180 days of the last two years in agricultural employment.
For unauthorized farmworkers who have not worked enough days to qualify, additional H-2A visas would be made available for those who have worked for a lower threshold of at least 100 days over the last three years.
Adjustment of Status. After successfully maintaining either eight years of CAW status or four years of CAW status plus ten years of previous agricultural work experience, unauthorized farmworkers would be able to apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.
The plan would also allow employers to complete their H-2A applications in a single platform.
Part 13: General Updates to Legal U.S. Immigration System
Spouses or Children of an LPR. The plan would exempt spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) from current family preference green card caps.
The 89,700 annual visas that normally go to spouses and minor children of LPRs (F2A category) would be reassigned to the F1 (unmarried sons and daughters age 21 or over of U.S. citizens) family preference category, increasing the number of visas for that group from 23,400 to 111,300 per year.
Elimination of Backlogs. The legal visa backlog is reduced to a maximum of 10 years. Individuals who have been waiting in the backlog (either family or employment-based) for over ten years will receive that visa.
Per-Country Caps. The plan raises the green card per-country cap from 7 percent to 15 percent of the total number of employment-based or family-sponsored preference visas each year. This provision aims to reduce and eventually eliminate country-specific backlogs when combined with other reforms.
Documented Dreamers. The plan protects Documented Dreamers from aging out of status once they turn 21 due to delays in visa availability.
F-1 Visas for International Students. The plan would change F student visas, reserved for international students, to be dual intent visas. In other words, international students would no longer be required to demonstrate their intention to go back to their home countries after completing their studies.
Employment-Based Visas: Derivatives. The plan would prevent derivatives (children and spouses) from being counted against annual visa totals. Under this provision, only the principal applicant would count as part of the total visa numbers. This provision could increase the annual number of high-skilled workers by 50 percent without raising visa caps.
H-4 Visa Work Authorization. Under this provision, the spouses of H-1B immigrants would automatically be granted work authorization upon receiving their H-4 visa.
O-Visa Eligibility. The plan would create a presumption of eligibility for an O visa, reserved for individuals with extraordinary ability, for students who have earned a doctoral degree in a STEM-related or medical field.
Immigration Agency Coordinator. The plan would create an Immigration Agency Coordinator to oversee immigration functions at USCIS, the Department of State and the Department of Labor and authorize about $3.5 billion to help improve processing and reduce visa and work authorization backlogs.
7-Year Economic RESCUE Plan
A Comprehensive Strategy to Balance the Federal Budget, Regain American Competitive Advantage, and Boost Economic Growth for the Sake of America’s Next Generation
Strategy to Balance the Federal Budget in 7 years
The recent downgrade of the U.S. government by Fitch Ratings is a wake-up call that our current runaway spending and broken budget process cannot continue. Our fiscal system is headed toward a crisis; we need a President who has the courage to set a new path.
I’ve put together a plan to attack the deficit and bring the budget back into balance in 7 years. Moreover, transparency and accountability must be restored to the way that Washington spends taxpayers’ money.
First, I’ll warn you right now, many critics – including many Republicans and likely some of my opponents in this primary – are going to say that trying to balance the federal budget in 7 years is, “too much, too fast.”
Let me remind you that those are the same people who watched the deficit more than double over the past 7 years from $620 billion to $1.375 trillion.
According to the U.S. Treasury, spending in FY 2023, through June, was 10 percent higher than in 2022. That’s another $455 billion, and the fiscal year isn’t over yet.
When is Washington’s out of control spending going to stop? When will our federal government’s excessive borrowing get under control?
The Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman wrote a book almost 40 years ago entitled Tyranny of the Status Quo. Indeed, keeping Washington’s fiscal status quo in place has already saddled us with mountains of debt and mortgaged our children’s and grandchildren’s future. It is time to look at what we’re doing to the next generation.
Consider our country’s debt. The best way to look at federal debt and how Washington is living beyond its means – or our means as taxpayers – is to consider debt as a percent of the nation’s GDP. The federal debt-to-GDP was 118 percent at the end of Q1 2023
In simpler terms, the federal government owes more than the U.S. economy is worth!
Back when Dr. Friedman wrote his book, the debt was 4.7 percent of GDP. Moreover, America sacrificed and acted to save the world during World War II, yet the federal debt at its high point in 1943 was 29.6 percent of GDP – less than one-third of what it is now.
That’s a sobering thought given the state of the world today.
Reigning in spending and putting an end to our government’s excessive borrowing is fundamental to grow the U.S. economy, shore up our regional banks, and save the U.S. dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency.
My 7-Year Economic RESCUE Plan is based on four pillars of action that I will take as President. It won’t be easy, but it has to be done.
Truth in Budgeting
First, we need to change the way the federal budget is written. Unlike household or small businesses, the federal budget is structured to automatically increase every year. The accounting system the government uses is called “baseline budgeting.” Under that system, the previous year’s level of federal spending is adjusted for inflation and the population growth rate each year.
According to the latest projection by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that baseline budgeting will add about $2.48 trillion in spending from FY2024 to FY2031 – that increase is already cooked into the books even if Congress never approves another penny increases for any federal program.
Obviously, it goes without saying, two things that would help slow this unchecked growth:
- rein in Biden’s out-of-control inflation, and
- gain control over the border.
Under the Biden Administration, inflation has skyrocketed. In 2022 inflation hit its highest level since March 1980. Moreover, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), illegal immigration is adding about $150.6 billion in federal spending per year as of 2023 – and has added burdensome costs to border states, like my home state of Texas.
It’s time to make Washington operate under the same rules as every household and every small business in America when it comes to making an annual budget, and that is by starting with the resources that are at hand. Only in Washington is spending the same amount next year referred to as a “cut.”
We need truth in budgeting. Because right now by assuming there is an endless supply of money available through taxes and borrowing, we’re only fooling ourselves.
My first budget submission as President will start with reconciling government spending decisions with the resources we have, not by some automatically inflated baseline.
That’s a constructive place to start. Looking at the latest CBO baseline projections, freezing spending in 2024 actual levels would put the federal budget in balance by 2031 – that’s 7 years.
Further, the cumulative savings from a spending freeze would reduce the interest paid on the debt which is now the fastest growing category of federal spending. According to CBO, net interest payments on federal debt will more than double between 2022 and 2032.
As interest payments grow, some other category of spending has to be cut, eventually. Anyone who has managed a household budget already knows that. We can’t borrow our way into solvency.
Fiscal Leadership to Make Tough Choices
I’ll be the first to admit that writing a budget starting from a spending freeze baseline will require some tough choices, but making tough choices is what taxpayers expect of their elected officials. And they obviously have been let down. If Congress was a football team, it would be a roster made up of 535 punters!
That is why I am running for President – to provide leadership to solve one of the most pressing issues facing our country and its future. Our fiscal system in headed toward a crisis; we need a President who has the courage to set a new path. As a businessman I know we don’t need to cut everything, nor should we. What we need to do is to cut the things to don’t work and invest in the things that do work.
We need to be honest about the tough choices which need to be made, however. Yes, that means reducing discretionary spending, but it also means entitlement reform.
First, starting with nondefense discretionary spending, we need a two percent cut across the board. Our fiscal house is in disarray. We are not in a position to be paying for everything we want, instead we must focus on what we need.
Second, we must save Social Security. Social Security is projected to be insolvent by 2033. Social Security, technically, has two trust funds: the Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund for retirees and survivors, and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) trust fund for disabled workers. Those trust funds on a combined basis will be exhausted in 10 years. If that happens, full benefits cannot be paid when they are due – it is estimated that will be a 20 percent cut. Politicians have been irresponsibly ignoring this issue for decades, but it can be ignored no longer. I won’t ignore it.
I will peg Social Security to the growth in GDP over the next seven years; growth will be capped at two percent and in no instance will spending drop below zero.
A new plan for legal immigration, adding more legally employed, and needed, taxpayers to pay into Social Security will also help shore up the system and the economy.
Third, we must enact comprehensive health care reform; we can’t balance the budget without getting health care costs under control. To begin, I will freeze Medicare and Medicaid spending, and then end the monopolies on insurance exchanges, health care providers, and Big Pharma. That will cut costs across the board and go a long way to bringing our entitlement spending under control.
As I said, we need to cut the things that don’t work. One example is Obamacare. That program, through its regulations and subsidies, has ballooned Medicaid costs and provided benefits to people that Medicaid was never intended to cover. For all the billions spent, coverage is now more expensive, and health care choices have decreased. We can’t allow this to continue.
While there are indeed tough budgetary choices to be made, by the same token, there are some easy decisions too. Take President Biden’s absurdly named $739 billion Inflation Reduction Act.
There is so much more unnecessary spending to look at – if our elected leaders would just take the initiative to do so. I will.
For example, programs that are best handled by the States; we don’t need to federalize everything. That’s not what our founders intended.
Programs that no longer serve their purpose; again, it was Milton Friedman in his book who coined the phrase, “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”
Finally, I’ll cut – and most importantly prevent – waste, fraud, and abuse. Of course, the more the government spends, the more waste, fraud, and abuse there is.
The more than $5 trillion in COVID era programs provide an object lesson in that. Michael Horowitz, Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice told Congress that fraud from COVID programs is “clearly in the tens of billions of dollars.” We cannot let that happen again.
Pro-Growth Tax Policy
A key pillar to getting our nation’s fiscal house in order is a pro-growth tax code.
Washington tries to micro-manage the economy with an economically lethal cocktail of high marginal tax rates, with tax credits, loopholes, and misguided incentives stirred in; that doesn’t work.
Too often these breaks are about crony capitalism, benefitting certain politically favored industries. Again, consider the Inflation Reduction Act. Goldman Sachs analyzed the tax credits for electric cars, hydrogen, green manufacturing and more, and concluded that the $391 billion in the IRA over the next 10 years for these provisions would actually cost $1.2 trillion. That’s because those tax credits are not capped.
The Inflation Reduction Act adds 43 new tax credits and deductions to a tax code that is already riddled with too many tax breaks.
The next President will see the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – passed under a Republican President, Republican House, and Republican Senate – expire in 2025. At a minimum, those tax reforms must be extended.
But I won’t stop there. We need a flatter, fairer tax system to foster growth in the economy and allow taxpayers the opportunity to save and invest for the future. I will reform the tax code like Ronald Reagan did.
Be assured that a lack of revenue for the federal government is not the problem; too much spending is. Tax revenue to the federal government is more than 18 percent of the GDP; the problem lies in the fact that federal spending is more than 24 percent of the GDP.
Budget Process Reform
The final pillar to balance the budget in 7 years is the badly needed reform of our federal budget law, the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act. Budget process reform is not the most exciting issue – which is why you don’t hear other candidates talk much about it – especially those who have been in Washington for years and done nothing to fix this broken system.
There is nothing more fundamental under Congress’ Constitutional “power of the purse.”
The 1974 Act created the House and Senate Budget Committees, established a process, and set a timeline for Congress to consider and produce a budget resolution and annual appropriations. Congress has virtually abandoned the process; no wonder the federal budget has grown out of control. Congress’ discarding the budget process is like throwing away your road map before going on a trip.
Consider, Congress is supposed to complete a budget resolution laying out the fiscal guidelines and setting appropriations levels by April 15. The last budget resolution that Congress even bothered to pass, for fiscal year 2022, was in August – four months later.
The federal government doesn’t let tax payers miss their April 15 deadline. In fact, the Inflation Reduction Act added $80 billion to hire new IRS agents to make sure they can’t. That’s another place to cut spending. The House Republicans trimmed around the edges with the Limit, Save Grow Act – but didn’t cut nearly deep enough.
For Congress, missing budget deadlines, or worse, ignoring the responsibility to pass a budget at all is the norm.
- Since 1975 the Budget Act deadline has been met only 7 times.
- Since 2010, only four budget resolutions have been approved.
- For fiscal years 2019, 2020, and 2021 neither the House nor the Senate even considered a budget resolution.
As the Committee for a Responsible Budget notes, “Given our terrible fiscal situation, with near-record deficits and debt, this is a tremendous abdication of responsibility.” To that I say, amen.
But it gets worse, …
Congress is to complete 12 separate appropriations bills in June before the beginning of the next fiscal year on October 1. However, the last time Congress passed all its appropriations before the fiscal year actually began was in 1997, … 26 years ago. They will miss the deadline this year as well.
In fact, since 1974, Congress has only completed its appropriations process before the new fiscal year a total of four times: 1977, 1989, 1995, and 1997.
When Congress misses the deadlines of a new fiscal year, it passes a “continuing resolution” – which just keeps federal spending at its current level until the government finally gets around to making budget decisions it should have already. And then adds more spending.
Again, over the past 47 years Congress has passed continuing resolutions in all but 3 years. These continuing resolutions can last a day or an entire year. That’s why there have been 192 of them since 1974; there were 21 continuing resolutions in 2001 alone.
Imagine an American family telling their bank or their creditors they were just going extend their current spending and worry about adjusting their budget later.
In short, Congress won’t follow the law when it comes to budgeting. As President I will have a package of budget process reforms to bring accountability – and fiscal responsibility – back to the federal budget process.
On day one, I will issue an Executive Order directing the Office of Management and Budget to publicly call out every missed deadline on the part of Congress so American taxpayers know when Congress is not meeting its responsibilities. Sunshine is the best disinfectant for this unseemly business as usual.
My Administration will review every dollar of Congressional spending bills and will submit a list of unnecessary spending items for Congress to vote on again. This is known as “rescission authority” granted the President under the Budget Act.
Under the current process, however, Congress simply can ignore the President’s rescission requests for 45 days and then the money must be spent. My reform plan will require a Congressional vote on these rescission requests. Note the House of Representatives, under a Republican majority, passed a measure like this in 2012; it died in the Democrat controlled Senate.
I like to call this the Earmark Line Item Veto.
Congress has a practice of political log-rolling and vote trading by putting wasteful “ear marks” in spending bills that direct federal spending toward Members’ parochial pet projects and political cronies. Sunshine is the best disinfectant to clean up this unseemly business as usual.
Further, right now, the annual federal budget is considered a “concurrent” resolution – a Congressional document between the House and Senate. It never makes its way to the President’s desk. I’ll propose to change that to a “joint” resolution, which would make the budget an act of Congress that the President signs – or vetoes.
All too often in recent years, the budget situation has to come to a crisis point, such as a government shut down or threat of a debt limit default before Congress, who spends the money, and the Administration, who administers that spending, work together on a long term plan. By making the budget a joint resolution that the President signs, we don’t have to wait for a crisis.
Finally, I will pursue a Balanced Budget Amendment. Already, 46 states have some type of balanced budget requirement in place; 37 are in the State constitution. Even in the four states without formal balanced budget requirements have some sort of debt restriction and other provisions to effectively restrict their ability to run a deficit.
My package of budget process reforms will bring accountability – and fiscal responsibility – back to the federal budget process.
I believe that 50 years from now, if we don’t take action immediately, history will look back on this moment and consider us the generation that prospered most, and sacrificed the least, leaving the consequences to the future generations. That’s not how I want to be remembered. More importantly, however, it is our moral obligation to leave better future to the next generation, as previous generations left us.
Additional Facts & Figures
Federal Debt: Total Public Debt as Percent of Gross Domestic Product
U.S. Public Debt Levels and Annual Growth in Debt Burden
Federal Interest Rate Payments
Annual Change in Federal Interest Rate Payments
- FY 2022 deficit $1.375 trillion per Monthly Treasury Statement (MTS) | U.S. Treasury Fiscal Data and FY 2016 deficit of $620 billion per Historical Tables | OMB | The White House
- Federal Spending | U.S. Treasury Fiscal Data (accessed 24 July 2023)
- Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEGDQ188S
- Budget and Economic Data | Congressional Budget Office (cbo.gov) May 2023 10-Year Budget Projections
- Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items in U.S. City Average | FRED | St. Louis Fed (stlouisfed.org)
- Microsoft Word – 2023 Illegal Alien Population Estimate for PDF.docx (fairus.org)
- Budget and Economic Data | Congressional Budget Office (cbo.gov) May 2023 10-Year Budget Projections
- CBO’s 2022 Long-Term Projections for Social Security | Congressional Budget Office
- Credits and Deductions Under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)
That is the word Americans use most often to describe our country. So, it’s no surprise that more than 75% of Americans say they are “dissatisfied” with the direction of our nation.
Something has to change.
Every great thing we’ve accomplished as a nation, we’ve done together. Whether it was securing our independence, defeating fascism, landing on the moon, or advancing human knowledge, we triumphed because we stood shoulder to shoulder.
Now, we seem hopelessly broken.
Our leaders have brought us to a place of division and paralysis by convincing us that we have more to fear from each other than anything else.
No American is our enemy simply because they disagree with us–even when they’re wrong.
The problems we face, and the blame we lay, can all be rectified if we look to God, find the good in our fellow Americans, and resolve to trust each other one more time.
I think we can all agree that we will not always agree. But what we can do is focus on those things that bring us together instead of those that tear us apart. That’s the way to freedom.
Over the last 20 years, healthcare inflation has outpaced regular inflation by 40%.
Insurance companies and hospitals work hand-in-hand, creating a virtual monopoly that drives costs through the roof while taking away your choices and power.
They use their money and influence to convince us all that healthcare is too complicated for us to understand.
That’s why healthcare is the only major expense most Americans accept without knowing what we’re getting, how much it costs, what the alternatives are, and if it will even work.
We can end the healthcare monopoly and put patients back in charge by promoting transparency and real competition.
Hospitals and insurance companies should have to compete for your business, not the other way around, and you should be able to shop for the best insurance, medicine, and care without worrying about state borders.
Our focus should not be on climate policies that cost a lot, deliver little, and in the end likely don’t even work. Rather, we should focus our efforts on developing new technology and encouraging innovation that will lead to the production of affordable and dependable green energy.
It is possible for us to have a sensible climate policy without breaking the bank and without sacrificing the amazing opportunities delivered by cheap and abundant energy.
The best investment governments can make is in innovative climate and energy technology. That is how human beings have solved problems around the world throughout history. Humans have a wonderful ability to adapt to circumstances, and we should include that in the climate conversation. The lesson to be drawn is that if a country wants to reduce the number of its citizens dying as a result of climate, it should pursue economic and technological development.
Achieving Energy Independence
America should never depend on foreign nations for our energy, especially those nations who fear and oppose our way of life.
God granted us this rich and bountiful land that already has everything we require to meet our energy needs.
By investing in homegrown and produced energy, we will create family-supporting jobs, reduce energy costs for working Americans, and break the stranglehold that nations like Russia have on the world’s economy.
To do this, we must adopt a national “All Of The Above” energy strategy that includes oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear power, biofuels, and emerging technologies.
Securing The Border, Solving Immigration
Politicians in Washington have promised to solve the immigration and border crises for decades.
Yet, our southern border is still overrun with drug peddlers, criminals, and human traffickers, while millions of people live here with no legal status.
It’s time to stop talking about these problems and get down to the hard work of actually fixing them.
The simple truth is that we will never be able to fix our immigration system until we secure our border. However, our border will never be truly secure as long as our immigration system encourages and rewards lawbreaking.
We have to find a way to solve both at virtually the same time.
Unfortunately, our leaders don’t want to make the hard choices needed to accomplish that.
We need an immigration system that secures the border, identifies and removes dangerous illegal immigrants, and provides a realistic, compassionate, and effective solution for the millions of undocumented families who are already here.
It’s time to bring the people living in our nation illegally out of the shadows by providing them with a realistic path to legal status. They won’t jump to the front of the line, but it’s time to give them a place in that line.
That’s the only way to know who is in our nation while also stopping the flow of drugs, violence, and human misery across our southern border.
Keeping America Strong And Safe
Across the globe, the enemies of freedom are flexing their power.
Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine, China’s increasingly aggressive imperialism, and the continued provocations from North Korea demonstrate the fragile state of our national security.
The way to freedom is an America that is proud and secure in its place in the world, unflinching in the face of tyranny, slow to anger, quick to aid its allies, but always willing to extend the hand of diplomacy to anyone who will take it in good faith.
Peace will always be our goal, but never at the cost of our liberty, independence, or sovereignty.
Revitalizing Urban America
America is facing two crises that, at first glance, seem unrelated; the decay of urban communities and the apathy of our youth.
But they are connected. We address both problems with one solution – a new national movement of volunteerism. We’ll encourage, motivate, and equip America’s youth to take ownership of their communities and make a real difference in the lives of people who are hurting and in need.
I propose we start a volunteer movement in our country that would rival the Peace Corps and bring life, education, and mentorship into our urban communities and schools.
Promoting A Culture Of Life
I’m proudly pro-life, and I believe that every life matters. I was thankful when the court overturned Roe v. Wade because I believe in the worth and value of every human life.
However, when we talk about being pro-life, the children in foster care are often left out of the conversation.
Being pro-life means recognizing that every life matters and has a God-given purpose.
My wife and I were blessed with four biological children, and we jumped at the chance to adopt another child who has added so much to our family.
My heart breaks for hundreds of thousands of unborn children who lost their lives to abortion last year, but it also breaks for the hundreds of thousands of kids without a real home.
There are over 200,000 American children stuck in the foster care system. Many of them will never have a permanent home. It’s time to create a culture of adoption in this country that gives every American child a chance at a stable, loving family.
It’s time to build a culture of life and adoption in this country so every American child can experience the love and comfort of family.
Strong & Bold Global Leadership
Our focus should be on reinvigorating our military. Our citizens need and want to feel safe. We need to build a formidable military, where strength will be our most effective deterrent.
By bolstering recruitment efforts, reemphasizing military might and toughness, and continuing to invest in the development of state-of-the-art equipment and weapons, we will once again have a military that can effectively keep our adversaries in check.
We must show strength and boldness with every action, investment, and statement we make, as our adversaries will pounce on any signs of vulnerability.