Skip to comments.How to Erase Earmarks
Posted on 03/27/2006 3:01:33 PM PST by kellynla
WASHINGTON -- Before they left town for the St. Patrick's Day recess, 10 U.S. senators gathered around President Bush at the White House to hear him make the case for a line-item veto. But Sen. Jim DeMint, a freshman Republican from South Carolina, had a better idea for the president: Why not instruct your department heads to ignore the earmarks Congress adds to your budget?
DeMint was not encouraging Bush to take the law into his own hands and defy statutes passed by Congress. A March 6 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) said more than 95 percent of all earmarks were not written into law but were merely contained in the reports of congressional committees and legislative managers. "Earmarks that appear in committee reports and the statements of managers do not legally bind agencies," said the report.
The president did not respond to DeMint at the meeting, and that signifies opposition to the idea. Administration officials have flinched from any such confrontation with Congress. But this exercise of executive power by a president who has yet to use his veto would go a long way toward controlling runaway federal spending. In contrast to a dubious quest for a line-item veto, Bush with a brief order could change the climate of spending on Capitol Hill
(Excerpt) Read more at realclearpolitics.com ...
In other words, President Bush might wish to spend the money a bit differently, but he generally approves of bigger and more expensive government.
Good for Sen. DeMint. He has some great ideas, simple but effective. An excellent Senator and representative for our state. (Unlike Senator Wimp...I mean Graham)
Looks like you know who to me.
Don't kill me, please.
Earlier this month, Robert Novak reports, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina told President Bush something mighty interesting: Theres no need for the President to push for a new line item veto. Why not? Because the chief executive already has the power to ignore a lot of congressional spending. DeMint, Novak explains, cited a recent report by the Congressional Research Service:
[The] March 6 report said more than 95 percent of all earmarks were not written into law but were merely contained in the reports of congressional committees and legislative managers. Earmarks that appear in committee reports and the statements of managers do not legally bind agencies, said the report.
A couple of hours ago I happened to mention this to my colleague here at the Hoover Institution, economist John Cogan. John agreed with DeMint, then cited a precedent in which he himself was directly involved.
Shortly after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, John was serving in the Office of Management and Budget. He discovered that Congress had larded a housing bill with dozens of earmarks. The OMB staff identified all the earmarks that were contained in congressional reports, not in the actual legislationa heavy majorityand then simply refused to spend any money on them.
Could President Bush do likewise today? Of course he could. DeMint, said John, is absolutely right.
From a political standpoint, DeMint is giving the president the opportunity for a dramatic gesture showing that he really cares about spending. By all appearances, Bush won't take it.
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