Ryan teams up with Van Hollen on budget bill

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), good friends but ideological opponents, have teamed up to introduce a bill that would give the president a type of line-item veto.

The bill, introduced Wednesday, is very similar to the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act of 2011 that Van Hollen introduced in March.

It is not clear if Ryan’s backing for the idea, which President Obama has supported in the past, means that House leadership will bring it to the floor anytime soon. The proposal is not popular with appropriators, and the office of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) declined to comment Wednesday on the legislation. On top of that, December is packed with other tax and spending legislation to be dealt with.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) supports the proposal, his office said.

The Supreme Court struck down the actual line-item veto, which allows a president to selectively veto parts of a spending bill.

This bill gets around this by giving the president the ability to request cancelations of budget authority in specific appropriations bills and for that request to receive fast-track procedures in the House and Senate. The request would receive an up or down vote and could not be amended. 

The Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2011 would also allow the president to withhold funds for up to 45 days while Congress acts on the request.

“Building upon spending cuts already enacted this year and a ban on earmarks, this bipartisan proposal represents a common-sense effort to reduce low-priority government spending.  I thank my friend and colleague Chris Van Hollen for his partnership as policymakers work to earn back the trust of hardworking taxpayers,” Ryan said in a statement.

Ryan, the author of the controversial House-passed 2011 budget resolution that would transform Medicare to a premium-support system, declined to serve on this fall's supercommittee in order to focus on budget process reforms.

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