Bush talks tough on spending

President Bush today commended the House of Representatives for passing line-item veto legislation and ecouraged the Senate to follow suit. The Senate will likely consider the measure after the July 4th recess as part of the Stop Overspending Act of 2006. The SOS Act, a comprehensive budget process reform act, faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

Bush also took aim at the congressional earmarking practice:

I believe another crucial test for the Congress is to whether or not the Congress will pass a line-item veto. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today. A line-item veto would be a vital tool that a President could use to target spending that lawmakers tack on to the large spending bills. That’s called earmarking, and that’s become quite a controversial subject here in Washington, D.C.

I happen to believe that a lot of times earmarking results in unnecessary spending. See, part of the job of the President and the leaders in the Congress is to set priorities with the people’s money. If you don’t set priorities, the tendency is to overspend. And sometimes — a lot of times, the earmark doesn’t fit into the priorities that have been sent through the budgetary process. A lot of times earmarks are inserted into bills at the last minute, which leaves no time, or little time, for debate. Part of the process — a good process is one in which members are able to debate whether or not spending meets a priority, whether it makes sense. Earmark sponsors are often not required to provide their colleagues with a reasoned justification for proposed spending. And not surprisingly, the process often results in spending that would not have survived had it not been subject — subjected to closer scrutiny. Part of a good legislative process is for members to take a good look at whether or not a spending request meets a priority or not.

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