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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 4890, Legislative Line Item Veto Act of 2006

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, first of all, this rule is outrageous. We have a closed rule, no amendments, no substitute allowed in order. We had a serious discussion in the Budget Committee just last week over this legislation raising serious issues of concern about the body of this legislation. Now we come to the floor today, and we are completely foreclosed from having an honest debate about some of the fixes that I feel and many of my colleagues feel are necessary to improve this legislation.

Now, I appreciate what the authors of the legislation are trying to accomplish, but let's not forget one fundamental fact: If there is a concern about overspending in this Congress, we already have a tool to address it. It is called stop spending.

I guess I would have a little more confidence if the track record of this administration and this Congress was more serious about fiscal responsibility. This is the first President since Thomas Jefferson who has refused to veto one spending bill. He is not even using the rescission process that he already has authority to do.

The last reconciliation measure before this Congress actually increased the national debt, rather than reducing the national debt, for the first time in our Nation's history.

I am afraid this legislation today is nothing but a political fig leaf to try to cover up the complete breakdown in fiscal responsibility under this administration and this Congress. And that is unfortunate, because we owe a better work product to future generations, rather than leaving them a legacy of debt.

Five debt ceiling increases in the last 6 years. They have presided over the quickest and largest expansion of national debt in our Nation's history, and the fastest-growing area in the Federal budget today is interest on the national debt.

What is really unfortunate is we no longer owe this debt to ourselves. We are completely dependent on foreign countries such as China to be financing these deficits today, putting us in a security and an economically perilous situation dependent on other countries to be financing our books because we don't have the institutional will to do it ourselves.

We had a viable and credible substitute that actually gets serious about fiscal responsibility. It reinstitutes pay-as-you-go rules, a tool that worked very effectively in the 1990s that led to 4 years of budget surpluses when we were actually paying down the national debt rather than increasing that debt burden to our children and grandchildren.

We also called for a greater time to review spending measures before they are brought to the floor so we have a chance to dig into it and find out where the spending is going.

We also had in our substitute an important provision that would prohibit any administration from using this line item power to blackmail Members of Congress in order to cajole votes from them to support other measures that are completely unrelated to the spending bill before us.

These are serious deficiencies that many of us have in the bill, but we are foreclosed from discussing them with amendments or by offering a substitute today. I think that is an outrage.

I would encourage my colleagues to reject this rule. Let's open it up. What are we afraid of? Let's have an honest debate. Let's have a debate of ideas, and let the votes fall where they may.


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