Leaders of the fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition in the U.S. House of Representatives today urged their colleagues to pass H.R. 3521, the Expedited Legislative Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2011, which is scheduled to be considered this week in the House.
Expedited rescission is a key component of the Blue Dogs' 2010 Blueprint for Fiscal Reform -- a comprehensive, 15-point plan to balance the budget and lay the groundwork for sound fiscal policies over the long term. The Blue Dog Coalition officially endorsed H.R. 3521 in March 2011, arguing the measure was needed to help restore some fiscal discipline back to the federal government by forcing Congress and the President to target, reduce and eliminate specific pork projects and wasteful government programs that continue to drain the federal pocketbook.
Under the leadership of Chair Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., and Vice-Chair Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Reasonability applauded the bipartisan nature of the bill and urged the House to pass the measure right away. One of four Blue Dog task forces, the Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility is charged with building on the Coalition's recognized leadership and record of accomplishment in addressing the nation's fiscal challenges.
"This bill gives the President and Congress the tools they need to root out earmarks and programs that are wasteful, duplicative, inefficient or outdated in our federal budget," said Schrader, Chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility. "Expedited rescission has been a long-held piece of the Blue Dogs' plan to cut spending and balance the budget, and I urge its passage."
"The Blue Dogs have long supported this bill because it would allow us to target wasteful spending. Our government needs to go on a diet, and this is a good way to trim excess fat," said Cooper, Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility.
Since 1952, Congress has only passed its appropriations bills on time four times and has failed to pass its appropriations bills on time for the 15th straight year, while the national debt has topped $15 trillion. Within 45 days of the enactment of an appropriations bill, H.R. 3521 authorizes the President to transmit a special message to Congress proposing to cancel any amount of discretionary budget authority. Legislation implementing the proposed cancellations would receive expedited floor consideration and an automatic up-or-down vote without amendment. This bill devotes all savings from the Expedited Legislative Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act to deficit reduction and requires the statutory discretionary spending caps to be adjusted downwards to reflect the savings.