Appropriations (June 2010)

It’s time for us to shed light on the earmark process

The House of Representatives is preparing to head into another appropriations cycle this summer as taxpayers become more and more restless over federal spending. They are angry not just at the level of spending but also the type of spending. Earmarks have long been a symbol of congressional waste and parochialism, but as taxpayers have been forced to curtail their household budgets, their tolerance of Washington excess has greatly diminished.

U.S. people calling for Uncle Sam to diet now

In my lifetime in public service, I have never heard more exasperation from the American people about our nation’s fiscal state. Turn on any TV or radio station and you’ll hear chatter about budget resolutions, Appropriations bills, national deficits and debt, and economic forecasts. These issues were once inside-the-beltway political-speak, but are now being discussed with increasing frequency and fervor in the nation’s kitchens and living rooms. In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that 79 percent of Americans feel the debt is a very serious threat to our future well-being as a country, second only to terrorism in national importance.

Rescission will help restore fiscal discipline

In the 1990s, I introduced a bill enhancing the president’s power of rescission.  Republicans responded with a line-item veto. In floor debate, I predicted the item veto would be found unconstitutional and proposed my bill as a way to have an alternative. The Republicans rejected my bill, so that when the Supreme Court struck the item veto down, nothing remained in its place.  

Stop reckless spending

America’s $13 trillion national debt did not appear out of thin air. This massive liability is the result of Washington’s refusal to keep spending in line with revenues. Since 1961, the federal government has run a deficit in every year but five. Four of those all-too-rare surpluses occurred from 1998 to 2001 under Republican control of Congress, the branch of government which decides these matters.

US debt portends a sea of red ink for nation’s children

The United States is drowning in debt. The 2010 deficit is expected to reach $1.5 trillion, and the president’s budget dictates deficits will average $1 trillion annually for the next ten years.

White House proposal is arrogant

Recently, President Obama joined many of his predecessors in submitting legislation to the Congress which would grant the president with an expedited rescission authority.