Statement of Third Way President Jon Cowan Praising the incoming House Republican leadership:

“GOP takes an important step by proposing a deficit reduction lock box to end the bi-partisan spending shell game”

December 29, 2010

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Statement of Third Way President Jon Cowan Praising the incoming House Republican leadership:

“GOP takes an important step by proposing a deficit reduction lock box to end the bi-partisan spending shell game” “Third Way commends the House Republican leadership for taking an important step in their proposed new House rules by including Third Way’s precedent-setting measure to change the appropriations process in a way that allow spending cut amendments to truly reduce the federal deficit. “The so-called ‘lock box’ provision would, for the first time ever, reate an account in each appropriations bill dedicated to deficit reduction. Under this new rule, House Members would be able offer amendments to appropriations bills to reduce spending on specific programs and dedicating the use of those cuts strictly to deficit reduction. Previously, such cuts would not reduce the overall spending limit for each appropriations bill, but would merely be a shell game in which a cut in one program would magically re-appear as increased spending in another program. “For example, under the old rules, if a House member offered and passed an amendment to eliminate funding for the “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska, the overall level of spending would not have been reduced. Instead, the funds would simply be re-allocated to other spending. Under the new rules, this bi-partisan shell game would end. A spending cut would be a spending cut, and overall spending would go down by billions. This new approach would significantly alter the appropriations process and dramatically reduce the incentive for wasteful, outdated or pork-barrel spending – forcing Congress to make binding deficit reduction choices. “We are gratified that the House Republican Leadership is proposing this rule change – a deficit reduction policy proposal that we offered in September to the Bipartisan Fiscal Commission, which included incoming Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (see http://content.thirdway.org/publications/334/Third_Way_Idea_Brief_-_Earmark_Reduction_Savings_Account.pdf). “Congress should also address stealth pork practices such as “lettermarking” and “phonemarking” by which members of Congress use their leverage to bring federal dollars home. According to recent press accounts, members often personally lobby the federal agencies that they fund. While these and other steps must be taken, we believe the lock-box provision will help eliminate earmarks, create better appropriations bills and get control of our debt.”
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