Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Udall Continues Call for Presidential Line-Item Veto Authority

Has Led Push for Line-Item Veto in House and Senate

Udall: Line-Item Veto is One Important Tool to Restore Fiscal Responsibility

Today, Mark Udall repeated his longstanding call for a presidential line-item veto during a news conference about the need for more tools to cut wasteful and unnecessary spending by the federal government. He joined a bipartisan group of senators, including John McCain (R-AZ) and Tom Carper (D-DE), in calling for swift passage of the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act. Udall believes the line-item veto is one critical way Congress and the President can help rein in the federal budget – along with earmark reform, pay-as-you-go budgeting, and a balanced budget amendment.

“If ever there were a time in our history to reassure Americans that Congress understands the need for integrity in how it spends the taxpayers’ dollars, it’s now. To do that effectively, we need greater transparency so that we – and the American people – can see where we can make strategic cuts and restore fiscal discipline here in Washington,” Udall said. “A legislative line-item veto is one essential tool that can help us get there.”

Udall has backed a line-item veto for many years. In 2005 in the U.S. House, he introduced the Stimulating Leadership in Cutting Expenditures (SLICE) Act. And in 2006, he worked with Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) on similar legislation, which eventually passed the House but not the Senate. Udall continued his leadership on the line-item veto when he was elected to the Senate, co-sponsoring in 2009 both the Budget Enforcement Legislative Tool (BELT) Act with Carper and the Congressional Accountability and Line-Item Veto Act, with former Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI).

Udall is a lead co-sponsor of the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act, which would enable any president to single out earmarks and other non-entitlement spending in legislation sent to the White House for the president's signature. The president would then send those specific items back to Congress for expedited votes on whether or not to cancel or reduce funding for the provisions. President Obama is expected to call for passage of the bill when he releases his budget proposal later this month.

“Congress’s decisions about spending should reflect critical national priorities and broader public purpose. That’s what the American people expect; and that’s the purpose of this legislation,” Udall continued. “This idea is gaining momentum. I look forward to seeing it enacted to help as we work to rein in spending, pay down our national debt, and continue to build our economic strength.”

The Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act would:

· Enable the president to effectively propose the elimination of earmarks and other wasteful spending from legislation that arrives on his desk for signature and send them back to Congress for expedited votes on whether or not to rescind funding.

· Respect Congress’s constitutional responsibilities by requiring that it pass a rescission request by a simple majority before it can become law.

· Require the president to submit expedited rescission requests to Congress within 45 calendar days of signing the initial spending bill into law.

· Limit the president to one rescission package per ordinary bill, or two rescission packages for omnibus legislation. Each rescission request may include multiple spending cuts, but no single spending cut may be requested in more than one rescission bill.

· Sunset at the end of 2015, after two presidential administrations have had the opportunity to work with Congress to employ this tool to control spending. The sunset provision would give Congress the ability to review this legislation and decide whether to renew it.