U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) made the following statement after Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) introduced the Stop Over-Spending (S.O.S.) Act of 2006. Frist is a cosponsor of the legislation and attended today’s press conference unveiling the bill:
“Changes in the budget process are long overdue. It’s my belief that the new tools in S.O.S. are the most effective measures available for strengthening fiscal discipline and fixing our broken budget process. Enacting the entire proposal will be a challenge, particularly in Washington, where the forces of spending remain active and strong. But achieving even one element of the S.O.S. reform package would be a major accomplishment in our struggle to control spending — and it’s my goal to see this done before I leave here.
"I thank Chairman Gregg for his leadership on this issue and applaud his dedication to strengthening our budget process.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander said, “Washington is filled with forces that encourage spending. This legislation would create new forces to restrain spending.
“It would give the President the line- item veto most governors have, establish real budget caps and create a new commission to evaluate and eliminate duplicative federal programs. Congress also needs a two-year budgeting process, so that every other year we can devote most of our time to oversight and ending programs instead of always creating and extending programs.”
The Stop Over-Spending Act, sponsored by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), contains the following provisions:
Line-Item Veto – Creates a line-item veto tool that allows the President to target wasteful spending, ask that it be rescinded, and send it up to Congress for expedited consideration;
Biennial Budget – Establishes a two-year budget cycle with the first year devoted to adopting a two-year budget resolution and the appropriations and the second year used for authorizing and oversight;
Commission on the Accountability and Review of Federal Agencies (CARFA) – Creates a BRAC-like commission to evaluate federal programs and report to Congress which programs should be realigned or eliminated;
Automatic Deficit Reduction Mechanism – Creates a mechanism to balance the budget by 2012 by setting budget caps and automatically slows the rate of growth for mandatory spending if Congress fails to meet deficit reduction targets;
Statutory Caps on Discretionary Spending – Caps the amount of discretionary spending each year, and;
Medicare Trigger – If Medicare goes beyond 45 percent of the general fund in any two consecutive years over the next seven years, a budget point of order will be raised against any new entitlement spending.