Monday, May 24, 2010

President to propose new scheme for cutting congressional spending

President Obama's budget director, Peter Orszag, will be holding a telephone press conference later this morning to discuss a new plan to trim federal spending.

According to a sneak preview issued by the White House, the president plans to send legislation to Congress that would essentially allow him to excise parts of spending bills he doesn't like before signing them. The lawmakers would then vote on whether to accept the president's cuts -- but it would be a take-it-or-leave-it deal; no amendments or changes allowed.

It's the latest chapter in an age-old power struggle between the executive and legislative branches. Members of Congress love to tack pet projects onto "must-pass" bills required to keep the federal budget running, essentially daring the chief executive to veto the measures in order to get rid of the pork. Guess what? It usually doesn't happen.

Presidents have been trying for years to get a so-called "line-item veto" which would allow them to zero in on objectionable provisions without killing an entire bill. But so far, they haven't been successful.

Leading the opposition has been the Senate's senior Democrat, Robert C. Byrd, who argues that it upsets the constitutional balance of powers.

We'll be bringing you more about what the administration has to say in favor of its proposal after this morning's call.

No comments: