Statement of Michael B. Enzi
Senate Budget Committee Markup:
S. 3521, The Stop Over-Spending Act of 2006
June 20, 2006
I would like to thank Chairman Gregg not only for holding this markup today, but for drafting this crucial, fiscally responsible, piece of legislation. The Chairman and his staff have already put in countless hours to get ready for this important markup and I appreciate their efforts. I also wanted to commend the Chairman for his comprehensive approach to budget reform.
As I mentioned earlier this year, during the Budget Committee hearing on the line item veto, giving the President line item veto authority is just one of the several budget process reforms I support. Chairman Gregg incorporates many of these ideas into S. 3521, the Stop Over-Spending Act of 2006. In particular, I am pleased that S. 3521 includes biennial budgeting. My home state of Wyoming utilizes biennial budgeting and I believe it is a far better approach to budgeting than plowing through the tedious process every year. Under biennial budgeting, Congress will finally have the time to increase its oversight. With what has turned into the never-ending appropriations cycle, Congress has really lost the opportunity to thoroughly examine the multitude of federal programs under our jurisdiction. By adopting biennial budgeting, Congress will have more time to analyze and evaluate the programs under our jurisdiction.
The Stop Over-Spending Act also goes a long way to reduce our deficit. The deficit is a huge problem that affects every single person in this country and controlling the deficit should be close to the top of the list of important issues Congress addresses.
Everyone loves the guy who picks up the tab. Uncle Sam has been doing it for years, but what the American people are beginning to realize is that he’s been doing it with IOUs. These IOUs will have to be paid by our kids in the form of drastic cuts in services and taxes higher than we’ve ever seen. It is past time we pay our own way and put responsible spending controls in place. By placing an automatic reduction mechanism in S. 3521, this legislation forces Congress to address the deficit by requiring reconciliation or sequestration if we do not meet our deficit targets.
S. 3521 also addresses the growing problem with the use of the emergency spending designation. In recent years, Congress has attempted to fund programs under the guise of an emergency designation. After looking at the list of programs that received funding, it is clear that the use of what is designated as an emergency goes beyond what any reasonable person would call an emergency. Under this Act, the statutory caps for discretionary spending will be reinstated and this will end what our Chairman likes to refer to as "shadow budgets". All projects, whether funded through the annual appropriations process or through an emergency supplemental will be subject to the caps.
I am pleased to be an original cosponsor of S. 3521. I hope that we will be able to move the bill out of Committee today and onto the floor of the Senate. Congress must do more to control spending and this legislation is a big step in the right direction.