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Findings of the Chairman of the Committee on the Budget Relating to Effciency and Reform Pursuant to H. RES. 1493

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


* Mr. SPRATT. Madam Speaker, Pursuant to the Budget Enforcement Resolution that the House passed on July 1, I hereby submit for printing in the Congressional Record an outline of changes within the Budget Committee's jurisdiction to help achieve deficit reduction by reducing waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement, by promoting efficiency and reform of government, and by controlling spending.

* While the Budget Committee does not have jurisdiction over specific government programs, it does maintain a broad oversight role over the federal budget as well as budget process.

* This year Congress enacted statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) legislation, a measure under the Budget Committee's jurisdiction. The legislation was the culmination of years of work on the part of Congressional Democrats to restore statutory PAYGO after the previous statute expired in 2002. That version of PAYGO reined in new entitlement spending and required new tax cuts to be offset in the 1990s, with the result that the federal budget returned to surplus. The new law likewise will help set budgetary priorities and restore fiscal responsibility. Since its enactment in February, Congress has passed and the President has signed legislation into law with PAYGO provisions reducing the federal deficit by a total of $58.4 billion over the next five years and a total of $43.1 billion over the next ten years, according to the most recent OMB scorecard.

* The passage of statutory PAYGO built on the internal House PAYGO rule, adopted during the opening week of the Democratic majority in 110th Congress--along with a rule that fast-track budget reconciliation procedures cannot be used for legislation that increases the deficit. The Budget Committee works continuously with other House committees to ensure that legislation coming to the House floor for a vote meets the requirements of these deficit-reducing rules.

* One of the critical roles that the Budget Committee plays each year is to set the overall level of discretionary spending for the annual spending bills produced by the Appropriations Committee. This year, the appropriations cap is $7 billion below the comparable level proposed by the President, and follows a similar reduction of $7 billion below the President's request last year. Approving these more disciplined spending levels encourages Congress to find efficiencies and reduce wasteful spending while providing enough room to fund critical services and investments at a time when the economy is still recovering from the worst recession in decades.

* In addition, on May 28 of this year, I introduced H.R. 5454--the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act of 2010--that will enhance fiscal discipline by allowing the President to sign spending bills into law while culling out unneeded or wasteful items and proposing that Congress rescind them. ``Expedited rescission'' under this bill requires Congress to consider the President's recommendations as one package, without amendment and on a fast-track basis, guaranteeing an up-or-down vote within a specified time frame. While expedited rescission will not eliminate the federal deficit, it will be one more tool to control spending. Forty Democrats have joined me in cosponsoring this bill, including five Budget Committee members.

* Finally, in light of the Budget Committee's broad oversight role on the federal budget, four Committee members have been appointed to the President's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. With representation on both sides of the aisle from the House, the Senate, and the private sector, the Commission is charged with building consensus on ways to wipe out the deficit and improve the long-term fiscal sustainability of major entitlement programs. The House Democratic leadership has pledged to vote this year on any legislative recommendations reported by the Commission and approved by the Senate, and agrees that deficit reduction as a result of the recommendations cannot be used to offset costs of future legislation. The deficit-reduction proposals of the bipartisan commission will be issued in December.

* The Budget Committee will continue to examine ways to reduce the deficit and increase efficiency in government spending. I look forward to working further with all Members of Congress to address the long-term budget challenges facing the nation.


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