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Statement of Senator Michael B. Enzi

A Second Look at Wasteful Spending Amendment

 Gregg Amendment #101 to H.R. 2

January 24, 2007

Senator Enzi: Mr. President, I rise today in support of Senator Gregg and Senator McConnell’s “Second Look at Wasteful Spending” amendment.  While I would prefer that this issue be addressed on a separate bill, I understand the procedural reasons behind why my colleague from New Hampshire is offering this amendment to the minimum wage package.  I am treating this amendment as separate from the rest of the minimum wage debate and I hope my colleagues will do the same.  I am pleased, however, that the Senate is able to debate this important issue on the floor.

This amendment is a responsible step towards spending accountability.  It provides for a greater level of accountability which is critical to enhance the fiscal wellbeing of the country.  Senator Gregg’s proposal allows both Congress and the President the opportunity to seriously reconsider both mandatory and discretionary spending.  By allowing the President to single out wasteful spending and giving Congress the final say through vote on a rescission package, this amendment will help eliminate waste, rather than perpetuate the current out of control spending habits.

By forcing Congress to take another look at spending, this amendment gives the President the ability to send up to four rescission packages a year.  Congress then has up to eight days to act on the President’s proposal through a fast track process.  However, a simple majority of both houses of Congress must approve before any of the rescission package can become law.  Finally, any savings from the rescissions must go to deficit reduction.

I believe that “A Second Look at Wasteful Spending” is a simple, clear-cut proposal that stands within the parameters of the United States Constitution.  This amendment includes the same principles of fiscal responsibility that have received bipartisan support since the passage of a comprehensive veto in 1992, and strongly echo the Daschle-Byrd proposal of 1995.  Here is a chance for both Republicans and Democrats to help restrain frivolous spending.

I emphasize the gravity of fiscal responsibility because it sets the standard for the success or failure of our nation.  We need to take action now to avert an even larger economic crisis in the future.  “A Second Look at Wasteful Spending” is a step in the right direction, though there is more work to be done.  Many of my colleagues in this chamber have supported this concept in the past, and I urge my colleagues to support the Gregg amendment.

As I stated in my maiden speech in 1997, the American people continue to demand an end to runaway spending. We need to show the American people that we are responsible.  I said those words about the balanced budget amendment in 1997, and they also hold true for this amendment today.  By adopting the “Second Look at Wasteful Spending”, we would show that Congress is willing to take a much needed step toward fiscal restraint. 

I stand in full support of this amendment and am proud to be a co-sponsor.  This outstanding amendment is worthy of your consideration and support.