U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, today were joined by 22 co-sponsors in offering The Stop Over-Spending Act of 2007, or "S.O.S.," to counter the Democrats' tax-and-spend budget resolution passed by the Senate and House last week.
"This is the necessary first step in bringing back common sense to the budgeting process," said Leader McConnell. "Giving Congress and the President tools to cut frivolous spending will reduce government waste and return fiscal discipline to Washington."
"Following the Democrats' willful disregard for the U.S. economy and the American taxpayers, as evidenced by the passage of the largest tax increase in history and hundreds of billions in new spending, we believe something must be done to get back on the right fiscal track," said Senator Gregg. "This legislation is designed to restrain spending, reduce the deficit, and find a bi-partisan solution to the looming crisis of entitlement insolvency. With liberals trying to return to the era of big government, this bill offers a much-needed dose of fiscal responsibility."
S.O.S., updated from the version originally offered in 2006, includes the following provisions:
§ It reinstates statutory caps on discretionary spending (and the use of burgeoning "emergency" spending), enforceable by an across-the-board sequester if Congress fails to adhere to the caps.
§ It creates an automatic deficit reduction mechanism to balance the budget by 2012 - mandatory reconciliation procedures to slow the rate of growth for entitlement programs if Congress fails to meet deficit reduction targets.
§ It allows a President to target wasteful spending, ask that it be rescinded, and send it up to Congress for expedited consideration, although Congress retains final power of the purse.
§ It creates a point of order against new direct spending that is triggered when the Medicare program is projected to become insolvent in 7 years or less for two consecutive years. Due to skyrocketing health care costs and an aging population, Medicare is projected to be the first of the large entitlement programs to become insolvent.
§ It creates a bi-partisan commission to study the accountability and efficiency of government programs (in a manner similar to the BRAC Commission).
§ It creates a bi-partisan commission to examine and provide solutions to the impending entitlement crisis, as unfunded entitlement obligations now total $69 trillion over 75 years.
§ It strengthens and improves the budget resolution and reconciliation processes.
The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Wayne Allard (R-CO), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Ensign (R-NV), John Cornyn (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Larry Craig (R-ID), John Sununu (R-NH), Mel Martinez (R-FL), Craig Thomas (R-WY), David Vitter (R-LA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Jim DeMint (R-SC), and George Voinovich (R-OH).