The only time spending has been reigned-in was during and after the 1995 shut down when 85 House Repubs, nearly all new to DC, refused to supprt a CR (continuing resolution) to fund the government. These CR's are all that is left to the House, it is all or nothing thing. If you remember in 1995, the Dems and Clinton made a lot of political hay out of the shut-down. However, it slowed the growth of spending enough to allow the economy to catch-up and showed people that we can live without the massive spending. This resulted in the Graham-Rudman Bill which essentially required a balanced budget. This law expired in 2002 and Bush (and House Repubs) was OK with that because he had a war to fight and a new Homeland Sec Agency to fund.