June 14, 2006

S.O.S. Bill Offers Path To Balanced Budget

Crapo co-sponsors sweeping spending controls announced today

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo says Congress now has a roadmap to achieve and maintain a balanced federal budget. If adopted, the legislation which was introduced in the U.S. Senate this afternoon, will stop the threat of excessive debt that could plague future generations of Americans. Crapo, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, joined with Senate leadership and 12 other Senators today to announce the Stop Over-Spending (S.O.S) Act.â??Americans understand that spending is out of control in Washington,â?? Crapo said. â??Wasteful spending in our federal budget must be addressed as one of our nationâ??s highest priorities. This legislation will give us the process in Congress by which we can get a handle on this critical issue.â??Crapo credited Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg (R- New Hampshire) with authoring the plan that mixes both spending controls and ways to maintain them. Some of the provisions of the S.O.S bill include a line-item veto tool that allows a President to target wasteful spending, ask that it be rescinded, and send it up to Congress for expedited consideration. 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.The bill 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. Finally, the bill seeks new studies to stop government waste and examine the impending entitlement crisis, including a BRAC-type commission that would examine government programs and spending patterns and make recommendations for savings and improvement. Crapo noted the present system puts too many spending programs on auto-pilot. â??We have processes in place today that make it hard to balance the budget and maintain fiscal responsibility. We must make sure we create a system of maintaining the budget that will enable us to give our children and grandchildren a shot at the American dream rather than leaving them with debt they cannot handle at the federal level.â??Crapo joined fellow Idaho Senator Larry Craig, Chairman Gregg, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), and others to announce the S.O.S legislation during a news conference on Capitol Hill this afternoon. The legislation will be considered in the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday.# # #