Alexander Cosponsors Legislation to Rein in Congressional Spending

Posted on May 23, 2007

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today announced he is cosponsoring the Stop Over-Spending (S.O.S.) Act of 2007, saying the legislation would create new forces to restrain federal spending, reduce the deficit and gain control of the federal budget process. “Washington is filled with forces that encourage spending,” said Sen. Alexander. “For instance, this year’s Democratic budget resolution is the largest tax increase in history and would result in a $2,052 tax hike for a Tennessee family of four earning $40,000. But this legislation gives the President and Congress important powers to target and cut wasteful spending.” The Stop Over-Spending Act, sponsored by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), establishes a two-year budget cycle with the first year devoted to adopting and appropriating a two-year budget resolution. The second year lawmakers would be able to spend more time on the oversight of government programs. “Congress needs a two-year budgeting process, so that every other year we can devote most of our time to oversight and ending programs instead of always creating and extending programs,” Alexander said. The bill also contains the following provisions: Line-Item Veto Authority – Creates a line-item veto tool that allows the President to target wasteful spending, ask that it be rescinded, and send it up to Congress for expedited consideration; Commission on the Accountability and Review of Federal Agencies (CARFA) – Creates a BRAC-like commission to evaluate federal programs and report to Congress which programs should be realigned or eliminated; Automatic Deficit Reduction Mechanism – Creates a mechanism to balance the budget by 2012 by setting budget caps and automatically slows the rate of growth for mandatory spending if Congress fails to meet deficit reduction targets; Statutory Caps on Discretionary Spending – Caps the amount of discretionary spending for FY08-10; Bipartisan Entitlement Commission- establishes a 16-member Entitlement Commission to review the current and long-term solvency of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Senator Alexander joined the Senate Appropriations Committee at the start of the new Congress in January. He was a co-sponsor of the Stop Over-Spending Act of 2006 before joining that committee. “These major budgetary reforms have divided members of the Appropriations Committee, but I took this position before I was named to the Committee and my view has not changed,” Sen. Alexander said. # # #