Progress Report - Chapter 4


Another Tool for the President

As illustrated above, spending decisions emerge from the dual roles of the President and Congress. The executive proposes a budget, Congress works its will on it, and the President accepts or rejects Congress' handiwork when he signs or vetoes its spending bills.

Though the two branches have made notable progress on the deficit, they need to stick closely to the 1993 budget agreement. In particular, they need to exercise continued discipline to limit spending. One way would be to expand the tools at the President's disposal.

NPR recommended that Congress give the President a tool known as "expedited rescission." [9] Under current law, Congress can kill presidential proposals to rescind--that is, not spend--funds that were previously approved simply by ignoring them. An "expedited rescission" would force Congress to vote on those presidential requests.

Though Congress has not yet approved the idea, support for it seems to be growing. In July, the House overwhelmingly passed a measure to increase the President's power beyond what had been contemplated. Rather than just propose spending cuts, the legislation would enable the President to propose killing targeted tax breaks. And unlike earlier legislation, which would have created an "expedited rescission" only for a short period of time, the measure approved in July would create such authority permanently. [10] Continuing Senate opposition, however, may keep it from enactment.


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