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Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the Expedited Legislative Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act. While I think today's debate is valid and relevant, I have serious concerns about ceding more legislative authority to the executive branch.
While I understand what my colleagues on the Budget Committee are trying to do, I fear we are tilting the constitutional separation of powers and giving even more authority to the executive branch that it will soon resemble a monarchy.
Every budget reform exercise we go through, going back to the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, seems to strengthen the executive branch and weaken the legislative branch.
This process has morphed into a yearly exercise in which Congress receives a 10-pound, five-volume, shrink-wrapped budget that is simply the executive branch's earmarks. Congress rarely challenges the bulk of the President's budget and is left fighting over the margins--a very small percentage of the total budget. When we do question the President's budget, we get push back from the executive branch agencies on any changes we want to make. Now we want to let ourselves off the hook from writing good legislation and forcing the President to either accept what Congress passes or veto it.
If the point of this legislation is to reduce our overall spending by giving the President this power, then we are ignoring one of the biggest drivers of our debt, which is the Tax Code, which was mentioned earlier. Why leave out the loopholes and giveaways from Ways and Means which is permanent spending via the Tax Code?
It was mentioned by the chairman that the appropriations bills are brought up under an open rule. I wonder why this bill wasn't brought up under an open rule. Again, the point here is that Congress should be doing its duty, addressing Tax Code loopholes and writing thoughtful spending bills, not simply turning over the hard choices to the President.
We are inserting the President in the legislative process. Congress giving up its authority under the Constitution, this will not resolve our budget problem.
I urge my colleagues to preserve the constitutional right of Congress to appropriate and vote against this bill.
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