NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The GOP's Budget Trump Card

January 29, 1996

Congressional Republicans can still reduce the 1996 budget deficit to well below $140 billion simply by refusing to appropriate money. But, so far, they have been loathe to take this path.

Just a few examples:

  • Last week, Republicans agreed to yet another continuing resolution which threw a life-line to all but a few programs in agencies whose 1996 appropriations are still in dispute.
  • It funded these programs at 75 percent or more of 1995 levels.
  • But close to $200 billion of mostly low-priority spending programs still have not been appropriated for 1996.

Either the House or the Senate can veto a program simply by refusing to appropriate money for it -- and there is nothing anyone, including the president, can do about it.

Those advocating smaller government and reduced spending recommend:

  • Fund the nonessential programs -- such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Education Department's Women's Educational Equity Act and the Commerce Department's corporate-welfare subsidies -- at a maximum, not a minimum, 75 percent.
  • Programs that were funded at less than 75 percent in the regular appropriations bills should be funded at the lesser of the House or Senate levels -- which would zero out many of them.

Source: Former Congressman Tim Penny and Stephen Moore (both of the Cato Institute), "Balance the Budget -- Unilaterally," Investor's Business Daily, January 29, 1996.


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