Pursue a Veto Strategy

In 1995, the first year of the Republican House majority, Congress actually cut discretionary spending. It’s high time we got back to pruning waste from government. It can be done. Here’s how I propose we do it now: 1. We go back to using the right words: limited government. We don’t just want fiscal restraint for the sake of itself; we want its result: smaller government. 2. We confirm our judges. We commit to taking seriously the constraints on federal power that the Framers placed in the Constitution to protect our liberties. Nothing is more important to that objective than ensuring the integrity of the third branch of government, our judiciary. One-Third, Plus One 3. We need to stop looking for 218 conservative votes in the House and 60 conservative votes in the Senate. We have conservatives in the leadership of the House, the Senate, and the White House. A veto strategy would require only one-third of the Congress and the President working together to control spending. To this end, I am organizing 145 of my colleagues…quot;one-third plus one of the House…quot;to sign a pledge to President Bush that we will vote to sustain any veto he casts to control spending. 4. We need to amend the Constitution to control spending. The Spending Control Amendment that I will soon introduce is modeled on California’s constitutional spending limit…quot;approved by a 75%-to-25% popular vote in 1979. (The 1990 repeal of the California limit led to runaway spending and, ultimately, the Davis recall.) Colorado’s similar 1992 constitutional spending limit (which caps tax revenue at the prior year’s level, adjusted for inflation and population growth, and refunds surpluses) is a huge success. Recent polling shows 75% support. The Spending Control Amendment will limit spending to the prior year’s level, plus inflation and population growth. Additional spending would require a three-fifths vote in Congress. 5. Even before we complete the process of amending the Constitution, we need to enact legislation to put enforcement teeth in our budget process. The budget should be an enforceable law, not a non-binding resolution. To enforce budget limits, a three-fifths supermajority would be needed to exceed budget caps. And the President would be given authority for line-item reduction, to cut back spending to levels enacted in the budget. If Congress and the President can’t agree on spending within the legal timeframe, an Automatic Continuing Resolution would freeze spending at current levels for the next year. HUMAN EVENTS readers can help by contacting your elected officials…quot;not just Republicans, but Democrats as well…quot;and letting them know that reining in government is a serious priority. Remind them that a commitment to individual liberty was the genius of the American Revolution. We can return to the principles of our Founding Fathers…quot;and these five steps are a great way to start.