Earlier today, House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced the Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2011 (H.R. 3521), an act to help lawmakers target excessive government spending to reduce the deficit and create a more conducive environment for job creation.
The bipartisan initiative gives the President a tool to go after unjustified spending, while also protecting Congress's constitutional authority to make spending decisions.
"Taxpayers deserve a system that is accountable, and this bipartisan legislation will provide another tool to ensure that we are good stewards of their money," said Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen. "We must do everything we can to make sure tax dollars are spent wisely and responsibly, and I look forward to continuing to work with my friend Chairman Ryan on this effort."
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan stated: "Building upon spending cuts already enacted this year and a ban on earmarks, this bipartisan proposal represents a common-sense effort to reduce low-priority government spending. I thank my friend and colleague Chris Van Hollen for his partnership as policymakers work to earn back the trust of hardworking taxpayers."
Fact Sheet on the Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2011:
* Line-Item Veto Authority. Within 45 days of the enactment of an appropriations bill, the President may transmit a special message to Congress proposing to cancel any amount of discretionary budget authority. He can transmit up to two special messages per appropriations bill and two for any other appropriations measure (omnibus, continuing resolution, or supplemental bills).
* Procedures for Expedited Consideration. Legislation implementing the proposed cancellations would receive expedited floor consideration and an automatic up-or-down vote without amendment.
* Presidential Authority to Withhold Funds. This bill clarifies current law allowing the President to withhold funds from obligation, pending consideration of rescission proposals by limiting the withholding of the amount proposed for rescission to no more than 45 days. This provides adequate time for the President to propose and the Congress to enact a measure to approve rescissions while avoiding an extended period of uncertainty regarding the availability of the funds in question.
* Savings Go to Deficit Reduction. This bill devotes all savings from the Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act to deficit reduction and requires the statutory discretionary spending caps to be adjusted downwards to reflect the savings. Additionally the committee allocations are adjusted downwards by the Budget Committees to reflect these savings.
* Nature of the Approval Bill. The Presidential special message to Congress must meet certain requirements, including the the dollar amount to be rescinded; the account, bureau, and agency from which the rescission shall occur; and the amount of funding that would remain. The message must also include the text of the approval bill for consideration by the Congress. The President may choose to send two separate messages for a single bill, but may not include the same rescission proposals in both bills.
Legislative Text: http://budget.house.gov/UploadedFiles/LLIV11292011.pdf