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Factbox-The numerous proposals by US House Republicans for spending cuts in the debt ceiling debate

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(RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Republicans who control the US House of Representatives say any hike to the US $31.4 trillion debt ceiling should be accompanied by spending cuts, but so far they disagree on any specific demands .

Here are some proposals that the Republicans had launched.

LIMITED DISCRETION

The Republican Study Committee, a group of 165 conservative House Republicans, presented a series of proposals in an open letter Wednesday that included imposing legal limits on some discretionary spending and easing regulations on home energy generation. The group’s proposals contained few details.

NO CUTS IN SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICINE

McCarthy said Republicans will not seek to scale back the two largest benefit programs: Social Security, which provides payments to retirees and the disabled; and Medicare, the health insurance program for seniors.

This is a change from previous budget negotiations, when Republicans suggested raising the retirement age and partially privatizing Medicare.

It also puts almost a third of the budget off limits. Social Security accounted for 17 percent of federal spending in fiscal 2021, while Medicare accounted for 13 percent, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

DON’T CUT THE DEFENSE

Republicans have traditionally supported robust military spending, and some House lawmakers, including Kay Granger and Tom Cole, the heads of the powerful Appropriations and Rules committees, said defense cuts should be out of the question. That would leave another 11% of the federal budget off limits.

CARRY BACK EXPENDITURE TO 2022

McCarthy has proposed limiting annual “discretionary” spending for agencies like the Department of Defense and the Food and Drug Administration to levels that were in effect in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2022: $782 billion for defense and $689 billion for home programs.

That would equate to a 9% cut for defense and 7% for non-defense programs from current levels, according to CBO estimates. Those cuts will widen in coming years as spending won’t keep pace with inflation, population growth, or the size of the economy.

These cuts would not apply to benefit programs, such as federal workers’ pensions and unemployment insurance.

DEEPER CUTS IN DOMESTIC EXPENDITURE

Chip Roy, leader of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, has called for keeping defense spending at current levels and reducing non-defense spending to $661 billion, the level in effect in fiscal 2019.

As with McCarthy’s proposal, that would effectively equate to deeper cuts in the years to come.

KEEP SPENDING IN LINE WITH INFLATION

Don Bacon, a moderate Republican, has called for keeping spending growth in line with inflation, rather than pushing for cuts that likely won’t win support in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

TIE IT TO THE ECONOMY

Brian Fitzpatrick, another moderate, supports a bipartisan proposal that would change the debt ceiling from a fixed dollar amount to a percentage of national output. That would force budget cuts if federal lending exceeds a certain share of the economy, but he didn’t say what that limit should be. Washington’s debts are currently equivalent to about 125% of a year of production in the entire US economy.

ANNUAL REDUCTIONS

Nancy Mace, another moderate, has called for the government to cut its spending by a certain percentage each year, though she didn’t provide details.

PAY SOME DEBTS, BUT NOT OTHERS

Some conservatives have said the Treasury Department could “prioritize” some payments over others when the debt limit is reached. Under this idea, the Treasury would pay interest to bondholders to avoid turmoil in the financial markets and perhaps pay the salaries of military but not civilian federal workers.

The Treasury may have the technical ability to pay bondholders earlier than others because it uses a separate computer system for that task. But it would create huge political problems. Democrats are already saying that Republicans who support this plan favor foreign investors over American retirees and others who depend on benefit payments.

RAISE THE MAXIMUM DEBT WITHOUT CUTS

This option, favored by Biden and his Democrats, has the support of some Republicans such as Patrick McHenry, who chairs the Financial Services Committee.

In December, he said he believed serious discussions on spending cuts were needed, but opposed such talks in the context of the debt limit debate.

NO INCREASE IN THE MAXIMUM DEBT

Some extremists, such as Tim Burchett and Andy Biggs, have said they will vote against raising the debt ceiling, regardless of the attached provisions. That could make it difficult for McCarthy to muster support for any compromise that can garner support from Biden and the Democrat-controlled Senate.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan and Gram Slattery; Editing by Scott Malone, Alistair Bell and Diane Craft)