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Spending Control Act of 2004

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Location: Washington, DC


SPENDING CONTROL ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - June 24, 2004)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 692 and rule XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the
Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 4663.

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I just want to comment on a couple other aspects of this amendment that I think are very important. This amendment really dovetails well with another amendment that is coming, which is breaking it into five simple categories so that we do not have these stalemates we have every year in Congress between the other Chamber and the White House. What we want to do is make the budget amendment easier to achieve in the beginning of the process. Also what this does is it has emergency spending protection so that we save for emergencies ahead of time, so that we have a rainy day fund to prepare for these kinds of emergencies.

We also clean up the definition of emergencies in this amendment. Far too often in this body, we designate things that really do not pass the smell test as to what are emergencies. We want to have real emergencies being funded under the emergency spending reserve fund, not nonemergencies. That is why we think we need to clean up that rule that allows Congress to designate things like a summit house on top of Pikes Peak an emergency.

So this bill makes it easier to get a budget agreement, cleans up our emergency spending designation and helps us set money aside so we can prepare for these inevitable emergencies that occur every year Congress spends this money.

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I just want to respond to a few things the gentleman from South Carolina said.

Number one, the cap is indexed to inflation at the CPI or another inflation adjuster, such as, in the case of Medicare, medical inflation, Medicare price. So how can he say that it is a cut if each of these programs grows by inflation plus new beneficiaries and the inflation within those kinds of programs?

The problem we have, Mr. Chairman, is when we put most of the Federal Government off limits to budget discipline, it grows out of control. I hope that those who are in charge of discretionary spending in Congress also join with us in trying to control mandatory spending, because if we can control mandatory spending, we can get our hands around the big problem in our budget system in the Federal Government, and that is out-of-control spending. We do this in an honest way, we do this in a sincere way, and we do this in a way to protect those. That is why earned entitlements are off limits, like Social Security and Medicare benefits. We do this in a way that we protect beneficiaries, we protect them from inflation, and we get our hands around the biggest part of our Federal budget, entitlements.

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I just would like to bring some illumination to this with numbers. This brinksmanship that this process brings us to has brought us a lot of extra spending. In fiscal year 2002, the discretionary spending level in the budget resolution was $661 billion. We spent $734 billion.

In FY 2003, the discretionary spending level was set out in the budget resolution at $750 billion. We ended up spending $849 billion.

In FY 2004, the discretionary spending was $784 billion. We ended up spending $873 billion.

This brinksmanship brings us to this overspending limit. This amendment stops that.

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