Today, Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the two leading members of the House Budget Committee, introduced a bill to give the President expedited rescission authority, a cousin of the line-item veto. The Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act would allow the President to submit discretionary spending items to Congress to cancel after spending bills have been passed. If brought to the floor, these cancellations would get an up-or-down vote in Congress. If they are enacted, discretionary spending caps would be adjusted downward, ensuring that all savings go to deficit reduction.
This legislation is very similar to the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act, which was introduced in both chambers earlier this year by Sens. Carper (D-DE) and McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Van Hollen. CRFB president Maya MacGuineas also testified on the Act in March, saying that "giving the President a more central role could increase accountability and serve as a deterrent to Members for adding low-priority spending that is likely to be included in a Presidential rescissions package." She also recommended broadening the scope to mandatory spending and tax expenditures where applicable, something that could also be applied to the new bill.
While this authority would not come close to solving our fiscal problems--even if it was used as aggressively as possible--it could help make government spending more efficient.
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