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Stop Over-Spending Act seeks action on "auto-pilot" programs

Washington, DC - A new plan to slow federal spending, address long-term budget threats and find solutions to the issue of automatic increases in entitlement programs is being supported by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and colleagues in the U.S. Senate. The "Stop Over Spending (S.O.S.)" Act is similar to an effort to curb spending last session, but this year's effort features a bi-partisan commission aimed at exploring ways to deal with programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid which are headed for insolvency."Thanks to the tax relief enacted in 2001 and 2003, revenues to the Treasury are at historic levels, while the American people are also able to keep and invest more of their own money," Crapo said. "The focus now should be on addressing the government's appetite for more spending and the growth of entitlement programs, which threaten our long-term budget picture. The budget conference report passed by the Senate last week busts the spending caps we had in place and provides for the largest tax increase in history," Crapo added. "This is why the Stop Over-Spending bill is a much-needed compliment to our already successful pro-growth tax policy."Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire) is the lead sponsor of the S.O.S. Act. Crapo, also a member of the Budget Committee, is an original co-sponsor of the bill. He says excessive debt damages the economy and will plague future generations of Americans. The measure would essentially balance the budget by 2012 by adding procedures to automatically slow the rate of growth for mandatory programs if Congress fails to meet deficit reduction targets. It also reinstates statutory caps on discretionary spending and creates a point-of-order against direct spending that will be triggered when the Medicare program is projected to become insolvent (in seven years or less). Due to skyrocketing health care costs and an aging population, Medicare is projected to be the first of the large entitlement programs to become insolvent. "This framework will establish a commission to research spending issues, reinstate spending caps and target wasteful spending," Crapo added. "The S.O.S. bill will bring needed accountability and reform to federal spending. It could bring a balanced federal budget in the short-term and provide the necessary tools to maintain that balance in the long-term."# # #