The Friday Faxline (Issue 492, January 26, 2007)
Legislative Line-Item Veto' reintroduced in the House
On Wednesday, the ranking Republican member on the House Budget Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan, reintroduced the Legislative Line-Item Veto Act of 2007. Under Ryan's legislation, the President would have 45 days after signing a spending bill to propose line-item spending rescissions within the bill. That package of rescissions would then go back to Congress, where it would receive an up or down vote. If Congress approves the President's proposed rescissions, they would effectively be cut from the larger bill. Unlike the historic line-item veto that Congress passed in 1996 but was eventually ruled unconstitutional, this bill gives Congress the final say, thus meeting Constitutional requirements. The Legislative Line-Item Veto would add a layer of fiscal accountability that I believe would save taxpayer's money. It passed in the House last year with bipartisan support, and I'm hopeful the Democrats will bring it up for a vote this year.
Deficit projections continue to improve
On Wednesday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office lowered its fiscal year 2007 budget deficit forecast to $172 billion, a $76 billion improvement over predictions from last year. A shrinking deficit in 2007 would represent the third consecutive annual deficit decline. In the years following the Bush tax cuts, economic growth has exploded, resulting in record low unemployment, historic growth in the stock market, and strong corporate profits. This robust economic performance has led to a boost in tax revenue for the federal government, which is why the budget deficit has been shrinking. Perhaps most importantly, it shows that it's possible to balance the budget without raising taxes - a lesson I hope will not be lost on lawmakers during this session of Congress.
President invites Lancaster Countian to State of the Union address
Each year, the White House invites a select group of people to sit with the First Lady in the House gallery for the President's State of the Union address. This year, the White House invited a group of individuals whose inspiring personal stories underscore the decency, courage, and entrepreneurship of the American people. At the close of his speech, President Bush highlighted three of those chosen to sit with the First Lady, including the man who heroically risked his own life to save a man who had fallen into the path of an oncoming New York City subway train. Another guest chosen to sit in the First Lady's box was 16-year-old Shannon Hickey, from East Hempfield Township in Lancaster County. Shannon was recognized for her selfless work providing clothes and other materials to the homeless. Her organization, Mychal's Message, is having a positive impact on the community, and I congratulate her on receiving this well-deserved recognition from the White House.
Senate confirms Petraeus promotion
The Senate voted 81-0 on Friday to confirm Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus' nomination to lead coalition forces in Iraq. The confirmation vote officially promotes Petraeus to the rank of four-star general and paves the way for him to take over command in Iraq from Army Gen. George Casey. Petraeus will be charged with overseeing the reinforcements of 21,500 U.S. troops into Iraq, a strategy the Bush administration hopes will reduce the violence there. General Petraeus and the troops he commands in Iraq will have my full support, but ultimately, I believe the Iraqi government and Iraqi army will have to be the ones to quell the violence in their country. It is a huge task, but they must take the lead if their new democracy is to survive.
Quote of the Week
"We will be judged on whether we hold seats, gain seats, or lose seats, and I am comfortable with that."
- National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Ensign (R-NV) addressing the efforts he will oversee to elect Republicans to the Senate in the 2008 election cycle.