Obama asks Congress for added power to slash spending measures

The White House called for a new presidential power Monday to slash spending that would be similar to a line-item veto.

The "expedited rescission authority" that President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaPriebus, Wallace clash over media coverage of Trump Rand Paul: We’re very lucky John McCain’s not in charge Limbaugh: 'The media did not make Donald Trump and they can't destroy him' MORE is sending to Congress this week would allow the president to propose a package of cuts to recently signed spending measures and then force Congress to take up-or-down votes on it. Those cuts would become law if they received a majority of votes in both chambers.

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"Here we are a providing a way for the president to give the knife back to Congress for it to cut unnecessary fat," said White House Budget Director Peter Orszag in a conference call.

The president could propose cuts to provisions for new discretionary and non-entitlement mandatory spending but not to tax measures or Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security. The current budget rules allow the president to propose rescissions to approved spending but they don't allow him to force lawmakers to vote on them.

Like a line-item veto, the proposed authority would let the president target specific provisions in a spending bill so that he wouldn't have to veto the entire measure. Unlike the line-item veto, which was signed by President Bill ClintonBill ClintonHow dealmaker Trump can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Chelsea Clinton mocks Trump over Sweden incident comments C-SPAN survey: Obama 12th-best president MORE in the 1990s but ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, the power proposed by Obama would subject the president's cuts to a review by Congress.

President George W. Bush had pushed for a revised line-item veto bill in 2006, but it stalled in Congress largely because of the opposition of most Democrats, including then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and then-Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidIf Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief Democrats declare victory after Puzder bows out MORE (D-Nev.). Bush's proposal came up for a Senate vote in January 2007, then-Sens. Obama and Joe BidenJoe BidenTop union offers backing for Ellison in DNC race John Kerry to teach at Yale on global issues Ellison needles Perez for 'unverifiable' claim of DNC support MORE voted with Reid against the measure.

Pelosi said Monday that Congress and the administration must "continue to do everything in our power" to boost the economic recovery and rein in deficits, but she stopped short of backing Obama's proposal for expanded authority.

“We look forward to reviewing the president’s proposal and working together to do what’s right for our nation’s fiscal health and security, now and in the future,” Pelosi said.

Blue Dog Democrats, House Republicans and a group of fiscal hawks in the Senate led by Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and John McCainJohn McCainGraham: Free press and independent judiciary are worth fighting for Drug importation from other countries will save dollars and lives Rand Paul: We’re very lucky John McCain’s not in charge MORE (R-Ariz.) have pushed recently for similar rescission powers.

Rep. Jim MathesonJim MathesonNew president, new Congress, new opportunity First black GOP woman in Congress wins reelection Lobbying world MORE (D-Utah), a member of Blue Dogs' leadership, called Obama's proposal a "significant step."

"We have a responsibility to work together to see that this important legislation ultimately reaches the president’s desk," Matheson said Monday.

He pushed both sides to do more than "talking tough" about spending cuts.

"It’s where the rubber meets the road that members on both sides of the aisle have fallen short," Matheson said.

House Minority Leader John BoehnerJohn BoehnerFormer House leader Bob Michel, a person and politician for the ages Former House GOP leader Bob Michel dies at 93 Keystone pipeline builder signs lobbyist MORE (R-Ohio) said GOP members were "pleased" the president was trying to show fiscal discipline, but BoehnerJohn BoehnerFormer House leader Bob Michel, a person and politician for the ages Former House GOP leader Bob Michel dies at 93 Keystone pipeline builder signs lobbyist MORE noted that Obama has yet to use his ability to propose rescissions under the current budget rules, as House GOP leaders have asked him to do. 

“Instead, President Obama continues to put off this important work, missing critical opportunities to stop the out-of-control spending spree that economists say is hurting our economy and slowing the creation of new jobs," Boehner said in a statement.

-- This article was updated at 1:29 p.m.