Line item veto would help reduce debt

Editor’s note: The following is the statement of record for Congressman Paul Ryan who introduced the Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2011 with Democrat Chris Van Hollen of Maryland Wednesday.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the "Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2011" along with my friend and colleague House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

The fiscal and economic challenges facing our nation are immense. In addition to the alarming budget deficit and painful jobs deficit, Washington’s failure to tackle these challenges fuels a growing credibility deficit. For years, policymakers – in both political parties – have failed to serve as responsible stewards of American families’ hard-earned tax dollars.  Too many politicians continue to make empty promises to those they serve, spending money we don’t have on government programs that don’t work.

The stakes are too great to continue to kick the can down the road. I believe that leaders can – and must – work together to meet these challenges by advancing structural reforms to the drivers of the debt and pro-growth solutions to create a more conducive environment for job creation.

This bipartisan legislation takes a modest step in the right direction. The Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act gives the President an important tool to target unjustified spending, while also protecting Congress’s constitutional authority to make spending decisions.

This new authority would allow the President to specify spending provisions within an appropriations bill, requiring stand-alone consideration of the spending proposal by Congress.  Legislation implementing the proposed spending cancellations would receive expedited floor considerations and an automatic up-or-down vote in both chambers of Congress. Should Congress determine the spending cannot be justified: Every dollar of savings would be devoted to deficit reduction.

This bipartisan proposal builds upon past efforts to target wasteful spending, including Legislative Line-Item Veto proposals I’ve advanced over the years and the new House Majority’s ban on earmarks. I remain grateful to Ranking Member Van Hollen at the House Budget Committee for his partnership in this effort. I look forward to working with my colleagues to help advance this common-sense deficit-reduction tool – a step in the right direction as we work to address the structural drivers of the debt and continued impediments to economic growth.

Paul Ryan (R-Janesville.) is chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee.

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