The Wall Street Journal has an editorial showing that we must keep pressuring the House—even Republicans—to do the right thing on spending.
When congress has cut spending, say by killing an earmark, it’s been their practice simply to put that money back in the spending pot. So they got the headlines for “saving” money but then got to spend it quietly anyway—a sweet deal for the vote seekers. Republicans in the new congress took action that seemed to stop this practice, mandating “spending reduction accounts” to keep the savings out of the spending pot.
(N)ext, according to the Journal:
(A) group of fiscal hawks…tried to strengthen the enforcement on those accounts so they’d be harder for Members of the Appropriations Committee to raid. The current rule puts the accounts under the control of Appropriators—the spenders in chief—and requires only that they inform the House of what they do with the money….
(The hawks) offered an amendment to sequester the accounts until the end of the budget year and then allow the money to be spent elsewhere only with a vote of the entire House.
Notably, the reformers were opposed by Speaker John Boehner and the leadership and lost on a voice vote. Mr. Ryan, the House Budget Chairman…was just about to speak on behalf of the amendment when Mr. Boehner abruptly intervened and called for the vote….
Appropriators try to limit access to specific budget information, all the while asserting that cutting this or that program isn’t worth the effort because the money will be spent elsewhere in any case. (The hawks’) rule would have made that harder….(A)s public pressure and media scrutiny ebb, the temptation to return to spending as usual will be enormous.
This is a reminder that we in the Tea Party must not slack in contributing to that “public pressure.”