Paul  Weyrich

Ever since William J. Clinton left office and George W. Bush became President Republicans never met a spending program with which they disagreed. From the time Republicans took control of Congress, following the 1994 election, through the Clinton years, the Republican Congress provided the brakes which caused Clinton to be a fiscally responsible President. The only two years when we actually had a surplus came during that period. But wait a minute here. After the 2002 elections Republicans had clear control of the House, the Senate and the White House. That had not happened since Dwight D. Eisenhower won in a landslide in the 1952 elections. Wow! Republican control of both Houses of Congress was strengthened following the 2004 Presidential contest. So another two years of spend, spend, spend. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration, the Presidency which has yet to veto a single bill passed by Congress, did turn itself inside out for tax cuts. Many expire soon unless Congress does something. Contrary to intuition, the tax cuts produced substantially more revenue to the Treasury than before they were enacted. If Congress had not turned on the spending spigot we would be running a healthy surplus.

The profligate spending by the Republican Congress, without a veto from the President, has become a campaign issue. The President's own party is, for the most part, disgusted by what it sees.

Into this situation has stepped Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. He has put forth several proposals to remedy the situation. Senator Gregg introduced the SOS bill, which stands for Stop Over-Spending. "Despite dramatic increases in tax revenue triggered by Republican pro-growth economic policies, out of control spending on both the discretionary and mandatory sides of the ledger threatens our economic well being and that of our children and grandchildren," Senator Gregg told his fellow Republicans in a "Dear Colleague" letter. Gregg says his proposal is building on the line-item veto proposal the President has put together which the White House believes would meet the Constitutional test. The previous line item veto was struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States. The case was brought to the high court by Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV). Gregg believes the current situation is untenable. "The process is broken. There are too many gimmicks. And too much wasteful spending, and we are leaving the bill to be paid by future generations." New Hampshire's senior Senator believes that most of the measures used by previous Congresses to control spending have lapsed therefore it is time to take a fresh look at the situation.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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