“Spending has increased twice as fast under President Bush as it did under President Clinton,” Heritage Foundation analyst Alison Fraser wrote in an analysis of the State of the Union address. In the speech, President Bush said he would send Congress a budget for fiscal year 2005 that is committed to “limiting the growth in discretionary spending to less than 4%.”
After the speech, HUMAN EVENTS Assistant Editor David Freddoso asked Republican members of Congress if they were satisfied with that commitment.
Were you satisfied with what the President said about controlling spending?
REP. CHRIS COX (R.-CALIF.): There was only a brief mention of the spending side of the equation. If not in the State of the Union message, then the morning after, we have to roll up our sleeves and get to work on spending. I’m going to be proposing a constitutional amendment to limit spending. We’ve entertained those ideas before, but they’re needed now more than ever.
Do you think it has any chance of getting two-thirds of the vote, given how some people cling to domestic social programs?
COX: I think that a half-trillion-dollar deficit really focuses the attention.
Were you satisfied with what the President said about keeping spending down?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R.-S.C.): Well, it’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing for us to do it. I’m going to be introducing, along with Sen. McCain and others, some institutional reforms. We’re never going to control spending this way. We need a two-year budget. If we don’t change the way the process works, we’ll never control our desire to help ourselves.
When are you going to introduce this?
GRAHAM: This year.
To apply to next year’s budget?
GRAHAM: Yeah. And I don’t know if it will pass, but I’m sick and tired of a budget process that is a train wreck. The only way we’re going to professionalize the way we spend is to professionalize the process. . . .If we don’t clean this mess up-we don’t have the discipline internally to do it, you need some institutional changes.
Were you satisfied with what the President said about reining in spending?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R.-ARIZ.): No. I was not. I was deeply disappointed that he didn’t threaten to veto these pork-barrel spending bills. And I am embarrassed as a Republican that we, the party of the balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, seem to allow this spending to get out of control. We’re mortgaging our children’s futures.