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Eliminate unnecessary spending

February 8, 2012 - Rob Weaver
The latest attempt to give the president line-item veto power contains a stipulation that could make the bill even more attractive -- or spell its doom.

The House bill, introduced Wednesday by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the leading Democrat on the budget committee, would require all money saved from programs that would be defunded by line-item veto would be used to reduce the federal deficit.

That sounds great -- as long as the programs being axed via the line-item veto use funding that can be redirected. Nixing a program to build off-road trails for all-terrain vehicles, for example, might not reduce the deficit if the program’s funding is raised through a user fee specifically meant for trail construction and maintenance.

House minority whip Steny Hoyer objected to the stipulation. He said money resulting from vetoed programs should be available to fund other priorities.

The trouble with that thinking is, as long as a budget deficit exists, the money really isn’t available. Prioritizing should be done with available revenue, not borrowed money.

The White House released a statement that noted the bill is similar to a line-item veto proposal Obama sent to Congress nearly two years ago. The name of that proposal: Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act of 2010.

REDUCE unnecessary spending? If the spending isn’t necessary, it should be ELIMINATED. That should be true, even if the federal budget ever is balanced.


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