U.S. Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) issued the following statement today after the Obama Administration sent up the "Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act of 2010," a legislative proposal to increase the powers of Congress and the President to eliminate wasteful spending through expedited rescission.
"Today the Administration is sending Congress an extra tool to enforce fiscal discipline: a procedure called expedited rescission. I will introduce the bill later this week, and look forward to gathering support for it in the Congress.
"Since taking the majority in January 2007, House Democrats have moved several measures to ratchet up fiscal discipline. These include a House rule instituting 'Pay-As-You-Go' (PAYGO) and a law making PAYGO statutory. In addition, we have passed rules prohibiting the use of reconciliation in ways that increase the deficit and reforming the way that earmarks are dealt with.
"Expedited rescission would add another instrument to this tool kit. Expedited rescission is a process that allows the President to sign a spending bill into law and at the same time propose to Congress that certain items in the bill with a budgetary cost be 'rescinded' or cut out. The President sends his recommendations for rescission to Congress within a short time-frame after presentment of the spending bill, and the Congress takes up the proposals on a fast-track, acting in a short period after receiving the President's recommendations. The rescissions take effect only if approved by a majority in each house.
"My involvement with this idea dates back to the 1990s, when I authored and co-sponsored the Expedited Rescission Act with former Rep. Charlie Stenholm (D-TX). Our bill passed the House, but not the Senate, and when Republicans took over the House, they insisted on passing a line item veto, and voted down expedited rescission. The Supreme Court later held the item veto unconstitutional, so both ideas went down. Over the years, a number of Members have introduced rescission bills -- including some in the current session of Congress. We will weigh the Administration's version of expedited rescission carefully, and see what changes we may want to make. In the meantime, today's proposal is welcomed as a step forward on the path to fiscal responsibility."