John Thune

Under my plan, Congress would transition to a biennial budget cycle. During the odd-numbered years Congress, would create a budget and pass appropriations bills. Then in even numbered years, instead of spending money in the run-up to the election, Congress would be required to look at ways to save money by doing oversight to see which programs are working and which are not.

Another reform I am proposing would be to change the pay-as-you-go budgetary rules to eliminate the phony accounting and the gimmicks that have been used time and time again to pretend massive amounts of spending were actually “paid for.”

We would also create a legislative line-item veto, which is something that governors of most states have, to get rid of wasteful spending.

Finally, the third part of my plan would create a joint standing committee of the Congress, the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction. This committee would be composed of members of both houses of Congress, and both political parties, and its sole purpose would be to find and eliminate wasteful government spending.

The committee would be required to put forward a bill to cut the deficit by at least 10 percent, at a minimum, every budget cycle. And in so doing, the committee would have to achieve these savings by cutting spending rather than raising taxes. Their bill would then receive expedited consideration in both chambers of Congress. We have 26 committees and subcommittees in Congress dedicated to spending tax dollars, and I believe we ought to have at least one dedicated to saving tax dollars.

This plan is not a silver bullet that will fix our staggering national debt overnight, but it is a meaningful start to restoring the fundamental pillars our founding fathers embraced. The threat America faces from our government’s dangerous spending is so great that we simply must make a real start at tackling this problem.

John Thune

John Thune is a United States Senator from South Dakota.