November 04, 2011

Crapo Co-Sponsors Honest Budget Act

Legislation puts teeth into spending restraint

Washington, D.C. - The rise in the use of budget-setting shortcuts, gimmicks and other manipulations have become an all-too-familiar crutch for a Congress that is not living up to promises to cut spending.  Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, is joining fourteen Senate colleagues to sponsor the Honest Budget Act.

"The Honest Budget Act should join the line-item veto and balanced budget proposals as sound fiscal policy that will bring transparency and accountability to our spending process in the Senate," Crapo said.  "When combined with the significant deficit reduction and fiscal reform that Congress must still enact, these new budget reforms would help provide a vital straightjacket to prevent future Congresses from using gimmicks and avoiding the tough choices that they must make when developing and enforcing a budget."

The Act restores urgency for spending reforms by stopping the appropriation of federal dollars in the absence of the Senate passing a budget resolution.  The resolution is the spending outline for upcoming budgets.  The Senate has failed to pass such a resolution for two years running.

Congress would also be prohibited from going around spending blueprints by designating "emergency" spending.  The Honest Budget Act limits emergency spending designations to amendments that would face a higher vote threshold of three-fifths of Members to waive.

Several budget gimmicks are annually employed in government loan programs and in rescissions that are used to offset spending, but are often used to increase spending elsewhere.  The measure also puts teeth in budget freezes and stops the abuse of advanced appropriations for future years. 

The Honest Budget Act was originally introduced by Senators Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).  Other cosponsors include Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John McCain (R-Arizona), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).