Reps. Ryan and Ribble on Fixing the Broken Budget Process
The Jerry Bader Show, WTAQ 1360AM
Rep. Ryan on the Constitutionality of H.R. 3521:
“We wrote this bill with the lawyer who argued against the line-item veto before the Supreme Court in 1996. I actually agree with that Supreme Court ruling, which says Congress should not delegate its lawmaking power to the Executive. In that case, it was the President who executed the decision whether to spend or not. That was a violation of the separation of powers. With the legislation Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee, and I introduced, it’s basically the tool and the power of embarrassment.
The President has to sign some spending bill, which is usually about six inches thick, and what inevitably happens is some Congressman, many actually, slip in a spending item at the last minute and it gets tucked into the bill because they know they’ll never have to justify it on its own merits. This bill allows the Executive to take that provision out, send it back to Congress, and then we make the decision. We cannot duck the decision. It must be up or down, no amendment, no filibusters, and we have to vote on these items in the light of day.
This bill does two things: It gets that Congressman who wants to put a multi-million dollar rainforest museum in a bill - and that’s something that happened a little while ago - to think twice about doing that because he knows he might have to suffer or survive a vote on its own. He might not do it in the first place but if it’s done, there’s a chance of getting it out of there. This is basically using the power of sunshine and embarrassment to prevent wasteful spending from happening.
This is just one of the ten ideas we’re putting out to change the culture of spending and fix the broken and dysfunctional budget process here in Washington. Broadly, there are three things we are trying to do here: control spending, do more Congressional oversight of the spending, and have more transparency. We think this will get us a better process.”
Elaborating on the next legislative steps for the Expedited Line-Item Veto Bill:
“I actually passed this expedited line-item veto in 2005 only to see it die in the Senate. We’ve had problems within our own party on this issue, particularly from members who write the spending bills, the Appropriations Committee. But these 10 bills all fall in the jurisdiction of the Budget Committee, so we will move these bills out of the Committee next week and we will hopefully move them to the House early next year. We still have a Harry Reid problem in the Senate, but I don’t believe just because you have an impediment in the Senate means you stop trying to fix the problem.
This package of reforms helps put pressure on the system. A lot of these ideas aren’t partisan and many have bipartisan support. We are going to fight the people who are ingrained in the current culture of spending in Washington. We are going to fight, make people pick sides, and make them take votes in the light of day on these reforms. The question is can we get this to the Senate and get this considered? We don’t know the answer to that, but it sure won’t be for a lack of trying.”
Ryan discusses the need to Prioritize Spending:
“When it comes to the payroll tax holiday, we shouldn’t pretend this is a job creator. It was tried with Bush and tried with Obama. It didn’t work, but I am happy to cut government spending and let people keep more of their own money. I’m happy to take money from wasteful government agencies and cut spending there, in order to let people keep more of their own money. I’m just not going to pretend that these rebates are the fix of the economy. Plus, I think there are other things we’ve got to get done that will be included in this “year-end” package.
The Keystone Pipeline is a no-brainer for us and it has bipartisan support as well. So what the President is doing is standing far to the left, on the outside looking in, when there is a bipartisan majority in the House and a bipartisan majority in the Senate for the Keystone Pipeline that is a job creator and that would lower our dependence on foreign overseas Middle East oil. We need to call the President on this issue in particular and see if we can get this done.”