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Guest Opinion -
By Congressmen Reid Ribble and
Dec. 7, 2011
The way Washington operates is broken. This is not a new
problem, but one that has become more pronounced as Washington
stumbles from budget crisis to budget crisis, with little
oversight of how the government spends taxpayers’ money. It has
been more than 950 days since the Senate has passed a budget.
This failure to complete one of government’s most basic
responsibilities has enabled unsustainable spending habits and
driven our country’s debt from $10 trillion to $15 trillion in
the last three years.
We need to change the culture of Congress from one that
prioritizes unchecked spending, to one that prioritizes
responsibility and savings. Spending is out of control, in part
because the rules of the game encourage spending money we simply
don’t have. Hard-working taxpayers deserve more from their
government than excessive borrowing, spending, taxing, and
unnecessary budget crises.
Congressmen Reid Ribble and Paul Ryan
As members of the House Budget Committee, we have spent much of
the past year developing credible solutions to fix Washington’s
broken budget process and grow our economy. To that end, we’re
introducing a series of bills that strengthen controls on
spending, enhance accountability and increase transparency in
the federal budget process.
The Path to Prosperity budget we passed earlier this year in the
House showed how we can tackle the crushing burden of debt to
improve economic outcomes today, while offering future
generations a brighter tomorrow. With that same effort in mind,
we are now proposing budgetary reforms that will make it easier
for the government to save money and operate more efficiently.
The Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act and the
Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act are two of the
specific solutions we’re offering to bring long-overdue spending
discipline to Washington.
Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act would establish a
two-year (“biennial”) budgeting cycle for the U.S. government.
Year one would be focused on drafting and executing a
responsible budget plan for both years, while year two would be
focused on performing detailed oversight of government agencies
and programs. By providing enhanced oversight and a more orderly
budget process, this reform will go a long way toward ending the
spectacle of a Congress that wastes taxpayer dollars and budgets
from crisis to crisis.
The Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act would give the
president the authority to identify wasteful spending items and
send them back to Congress for an up-or-down vote, with any
savings going toward deficit reduction. Building on the
House-passed ban on earmarks, this proposal is a commonsense
tool to discourage pork-barrel spending.
Only when Washington can be honest about the true size and scope
of our fiscal problems can we engage in a much-needed debate
over the nation’s fiscal future and what kind of country we want
to leave to our kids and grandkids. As members of the House
Budget Committee, we will continue to offer solutions to fix
what’s broken with the federal government’s budget process, to
end the culture of wasteful spending, and to restore fiscal
responsibility so the economy can grow.
(U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble represents Wisconsin’s 8th
Congressional District. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan represents
Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.)