for change, to give it a try.
This is a good rule. Many Members' concerns about the bill al-
ready have been addressed and incorporated into the base text.
The rule makes in order a Republican substitute, and provides
an opportunity for the minority leader to offer his amendment on
tax expenditures. And it does not restrict the motion to recommit.
I urge all Members to support the rule and to support the bill.
Remember, if we vote against this rule, we are voting against
considering a line item veto. We are choking off everyone in this
body, if we vote against this rule.
Mr. Speaker, I move the previous question on the resolution.
The previous question was ordered.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. RICHARDSON). The question is
on the resolution.
The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced
that the ayes appeared to have it.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground
that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a
quorum is not present.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Evidently a quorum is not present.
The Sergeant at Arms will notify absent Members.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were â€” ^yeas
212, nays 208, not voting 12, as follows:
[RoU No. 144]
de la Garza
Johnson, E. B.
NOT VOTINGâ€” 12
The Clerk announced the following pair:
On this vote:
Ms. Schenk for, with Mr. Washington against.
Mr. SARPALIUS, Mr. WHITTEN, Mrs. MINK, Mr. ABERCROM-
BIE, and Mr. BORSKI changed their vote from "nay" to "yea."
Mr. FAWELL changed his vote from "present" to "nay."
So the resolution was agreed to.
The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
[From the Congressional Record pages H2084-2104]
EXPEDITED RESCISSIONS ACT OF 1993
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 149
and rule XXIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of
the Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration
of the bill, H.R. 1578.
IN THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the
Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the
bill (H.R. 1578) to amend the Congressional Budget and Impound-
ment Control Act of 1974 to provide for the expedited consideration
of certain proposed rescissions of budget authority, with Mr. SwiFT
in the chair.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered as
having been read the first time.
The gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Derrick] will be recog-
nized for 30 minutes; the gentleman from New York [Mr. SOLO-
MON] will be recognized for 30 minutes; the gentleman from Michi-
gan [Mr. CONYERS] will be recognized for 30 minutes; and the gen-
tleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Clinger] will be recognized for 30
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from South Carolina [Mr.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Chairman, I have a parliamentary inquiry.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman will state his parliamentary in-
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Chairman, I would like to perhaps have a
short colloquy with the floor managers of the bill in that since the
Committee on Government Operations is recognized for 1 hour
equally divided between the Democrat side and the Republican
side, and the same would hold true for the Committee on Rules,
is it the intention of the Chair to recognize all four utilizing their
time at the same time? That is the usual custom.
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair will follow any recommended proce-
dure; the Chair will follow any recommended order that is agreed
upon by the four floor leaders.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Chairman, I would just say to my good
friend, the gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Derrick], that it
is our suggestion that we be able to debate the 2 hours ail at one
time, rotating with the four managers as they see fit.
Mr. DERRICK. That is fine.
Mr. SOLOMON. Is that agreeable to the gentleman?
Mr. DERRICK Yes.
Mr. SOLOMON. Then I assume it is agreed to, and that is the
order we will proceed in, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DERRICK. Let me make sure I understand. I was not ex-
actly sure. What was the gentleman's proposal on the time?
Mr. SOLOMON. The proposal was, under the usual order of the
House, on past bills of this nature that when we have two commit-
tees involved, that we rotate the time of the two committees, the
Republicans and Democrats on each side, so that we would use up
the time equally as we proceed. In that way both of the committees
of jurisdiction could be involved in the entire debate.
Mr. DERRICK Does the gentleman object to maybe doing the
Rules time first and then recognizing â€” letting Government Oper-
ations go next? I mean 1 hour and 1 hour. Is there any objection?
We have a chairman who would prefer to do it that way. I really
am ambivalent about it.
Mr. SOLOMON. With all due respect, there were many Members
on this aisle where some of the Members have other obligations
and they do not want to have to wait for the second hour. Out of
fairness to those who do have obligations, if you rotated the time
equally, we would be able to accommodate those Members.
Mr. DERRICK. If we rotate, then everyone has to stay here for
the full 2 hours. That is the point. I thought maybe we could
Mr. SOLOMON. Only the managers of the bill.
Mr. DERRICK. Well, I am concerned about that.
Mr. SOLOMON. Well, you and I usually take a beating, Mr.
Derrick, anyway; we are here all the time.
Mr. DERRICK. Would the gentleman object to doing it the other
way? One of our chairmen has specifically requested it, and I would
like to honor his request if we could.
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair will begin by recognizing the gen-
tleman from South Carolina [Mr. DERRICK], in the hope that the
conversation may continue while we proceed with the debate on the
I recognize the gentleman from South Carolina.
Mr. DERRICK. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may
Mr. Chairman, I am delighted today to bring to the floor H.R.
1578, the Expedited Rescissions Act of 1993.
On November 3 the American people voted for change. They
elected a new President to bring them that change.
The President has laid out a far-reaching program, many parts
of which have already been debated at great length on this floor.
In the weeks and months ahead there will be more such debates.
I believe, with the help and support of this Congress, President
Clinton will succeed in changing this Nation for the better.
The legislation before us today is a key aspect of the President's
program: a modified line-item veto.
As did his predecessors, this President has emphasized time and
time again that he needs such a power. I believe the time is long
overdue to give it to him.
The legislation before the House is actually very simple. After
the President signs an appropriations act he may, within 3 days,
send the House a special message proposing to rescind, or cancel,
any line-items in the bill which he might oppose.
Within 2 days of receipt of the President's message, either the
majority or minority leader would introduce the President's bill. If
neither leader introduced it, then on the third day any Member
could do so.
The bill would be referred to the Committee on Appropriations,
which would have 7 legislative days to report it out.
The committee could not propose changes to the President's bill,
but it could report an alternative bill if it chose. An alternative bill
would have to rescind at least as much as the President's bill, and
draw its rescissions from the same appropriations act as the Presi-
The President's package would have come to a vote in the House
within 10 days of when it was introduced. The bill would not be
subject to amendment or to a demand for a division of the question.
In other words, the House would have to vote, up or down, on the
President's package as he submitted it.
If approved by a majority, the bill would go to the Senate which
would consider it under similar, expedited procedures and con-
straints. If the legislation passed the Senate by majority vote, it
would go to the President. Presumably the President would sign it
into law since it would be his proposal. Appropriations would be
canceled, spending would be cut, and the deficit would be reduced.
If the House rejected the President's bill and instead passed the
alternative bill, that bill would go to the Senate. The Senate Appro-
priations Committee could report out the alternative bill with or
without change, but for any alternative to be in order in the Sen-
ate, the Senate would first have to vote on and reject the Presi-
dent's bill. If both houses ultimately passed an alternative to the
President, then that bill would go to the President. If he signed it,
those appropriations would be canceled, spending would be cut, and
the deficit reduced. Either way, the American taxpayer would be
the big winner.
Mr. Chairman, the bill is a temporary, 2-year experiment. After
the 2-year test, the Congress can review the process and decide
whether to extend it with or without change.
One of the concerns many Members have about a true line-item
veto, which would require a constitutional amendment, involves the
dramatic shift of power it would make from the Congress to the ex-
The Framers of the Constitution could have given the President
an item veto; they certainly knew how to do it. But they declined
to do so. In fact, the President's current qualified veto was itself
a compromise; some of Founding Fathers wanted to give the Presi-
dent no veto at all. The Constitution is a beautiful document, and
I have never felt we should lightly tamper with it. Besides, amend-
ing the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote in each House of
Congress and ratification by three-quarters of the State legisla-
tures. That process could take years. I don't believe we can afford
to wait years for this reform.
Moreover, Mr. Chairman, last fall I held extensive hearings in
the Rules Subcommittee on the Legislative Process on the forerun-
ner of the legislation before us today. We heard compelling testi-
mony from several witnesses, including a distinguished State legis-
lator from Wisconsin, who warned us it is possible for a chief exec-
utive to use a line-item veto not only to reduce spending, but also
as a weapon to increase spending on his own pet programs. The op-
tion for a congressional alternative to the President's bill will miti-
gate this possibility.
H.R. 1578 will take Congress through two full appropriations cy-
cles. Two full cycles will give us ample evidence to weigh in deter-
mining whether the modified line-item veto actually serves the peo-
ple's interests and reduces spending, or not. If it works, and I be-
lieve it will, then we can extend it or make it permanent at that
Mr. Chairman, I strongly believe the bill is constitutional. The
American Law Division of the Library of Congress has rendered an
opinion to the effect that it is constitutional. But some have raised
questions, and as a precaution the bill includes provisions for expe-
dited review in the courts.
Mr. Chairman, I have supported the legislative line-item veto for
many years in an attempt to enhance accountability on both ends
of Pennsylvania Avenue for our country's fiscal decisions. I am sure
no Member considers the line-item veto a cure-all for our Nation's
deficit problems. But I believe H.R. 1578 is a good bill and every
Member ought to support it. The Clinton administration, which
participated actively in the process which brought us to the floor
today, believes it is a good bill.
Later the gentleman from Delaware [Mr. CastleI and the gen-
tleman from New York [Mr. SOLOMON] may offer a substitute
amendment to change the bill from one requiring the Congress to
approve the President's rescission bill to one requiring the Con-
gress to disapprove the President's rescissions. The Castle-Solomon
amendment would convert the President's rescissions from mere
proposals to reality. Under their approach the President's proposal
would take effect permanently and appropriations would be can-
celed unless Congress re-enacted them within a specified time.
Since the President would probably veto any bill to disapprove
his rescissions, the Castle-Solomon amendment would in effect re-
quire Congress to muster a two-thirds majority in both Houses to
I hope the Members will reject this unwise amendment. It would
mark a tremendous shift of power from Congress to the Presidency.
The amendment is based on the notion that Presidents institution-
ally want to spend less than Congresses do. I have no reason to
draw such a conclusion. I know Presidents often want to spend
money on different things than Congresses do, but not necessarily
Mr. Chairman, the President has said if we do not change, we
will not recognize this country in 10 years. He has asked virtually
every sector of our society to join him in making sacrifices, cutting
unnecessary spending, reducing the deficit, and changing from
business as usual. This Congress has already responded to the
President's clarion call for change by passing his budget.
Mr. Chairman, the line-item veto is a key part of the President's
legislative program. The President believes we must use every
weapon at our disposal to win the battle against the Federal budg-
et deficit, the special interest, and to defeat those who would resist
change and preserve the status quo. The legislative line-item veto
is just such a weapon. It will not cure our deficit problem, but it
will help by enhancing accountability for spending decisions.
No longer would a President be able to sign an appropriations
act including wasteful line-items and claim he was powerless to
block them. No longer could Congress force upon the President the
dilemma of vetoing an entire appropriations act and shutting down
the Government, or signing the whole thing, pork and all. Account-
ability is what we need, and accountability is what this bill will
provide. I urge all Members to support the legislation and oppose
the Castle-Solomon amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I submit for the RECORD a letter from the Presi-
dent to the Speaker, Mr. FOLEY, urging our support for this legisla-
The White House,
Washington, April 27, 1993.
Hon. Thomas S. Foley,
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Speaker: I am writing in support of the substitute for
H.R. 1578, the Expedited Rescissions Act, which has been made in
order for House Floor consideration by the Rules Committee in H.
As you know, I support a line-item veto to reduce wasteful gov-
ernment spending. The bill about to be considered by the House
would give the President modified line-item veto authority which I
believe would go a long way toward achieving the purposes of a
The bill would enable the President to reject items in an appro-
priations bill. Those items could then be approved only by a sepa-
rate vote in the Congress. The measure essentially would expedite
the existing process for consideration of rescissions.
I believe this bill would increase the accountability of both the
executive and legislative branches for reducing wasteful spending.
It would provide an effective means for curbing unnecessary or in-
appropriate expenditures without blocking enactment of critical ap-
propriations bills. Some have expressed concern that this proposal
might threaten the prerogatives of the Congress, but I do not be-
lieve that it would shift the constitutional balance of powers that
is so critical to the success of our form of government.
I urge the House to work with me to control government spend-
ing by agreeing to consider the expedited rescission issue and by
adopting H.R. 1578 as set forth in Part 1 of the Rules Committee's
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from South
Carolina for yielding me half of his valuable time. I 3deld myself
such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, last November 16 I wrote to President-elect Clinton
and warned him not to be "snookered" by the Democratic leader-
ship into thinking that the so-called expedited rescission bill was
a real true line-item veto.
It is not. As a matter of fact, the gentleman from Texas [Mr.
Stenholm], the major cosponsor of the bill, took the floor not less
than a half hour ago to say that it was not a line-item veto. So let
us not get these things mixed up.
Instead of requiring a super, two-thirds majority to override a
President's line-item veto, this expedited rescission bill permits a
simple majority of either House to block a President's rescissions,
50 percent plus one.
In other words, it would take only 51 Senators to reverse the
President's cancellation of wasteful spending items in an appro-
That is not a line-item veto.
Let me repeat that. Under this expedited rescission bill, either
House can override the President's proposed spending cuts and per-
mit the little porkers to run hog-wild and free.
Mr. Speaker, President Clinton, as a Presidential candidate last
year, said over and over again that he wanted a real line-item veto
when he became President.
In his campaign book of promises entitled, "Putting People
First," and I have the book in my office, and so does the Speaker,
he wrote, and I quote: "To eliminate pork-barrel projects, and cut
government waste, we will ask Congress to give the President the
line item veto."
And yet, Mr. Speaker, we are told today that in the spirit of com-
promise with the Democrat leadership of this House, the President
now supports this weak-kneed alternative to a line-item veto that
allows as few, and I repeat, as 51 Senators to overturn him. That
means we are never going to eliminate any line items, period.
Mr. Speaker, all this Spratt-Stenholm bill does â€” with all due re-
spect to the two sponsors who I greatly respect â€” is to package and
expedite the current rescission approval approach contained in the
Budget Act, and mandate that the House vote on it.
Well, Mr. Speaker, Big Deal.
If the House rejects the President's spending-cut package, we are
told this new bill would mandate consideration of an alternative
bill reported by the Appropriations Committee â€” that is, if they
bother to report any bill at all.
Otherwise, there will be no spending cuts, only more spending in-
If the House approves the President's spending cut package but
the Senate rejects it, then maybe a Senate Appropriations alter-
native will be considered.
But, this runs into constitutional problems if we treat rescissions
as we do appropriation bills which must originate in the House, not
So we are left between a marshmallow and a soft place, which
is probably where we deserve to be since this bill has no teeth to
speak of at all.
Mr. Speaker, our Republican approach, on the other hand, re-
verses the current rescission process by saying that the Presi-
dent's â€” any President's â€” rescission package will stand unless a ma-
jority of both Houses have the guts to stand up and disapprove
them and the disapproval bill becomes law.
Since the President would likely veto such a disapproval bill, be-
cause it is his bill, our approach would ultimately require a two-
thirds vote of both Houses to override the President and force the
money to be spent.
Now that is about as close to a true line-item veto as you can
get without going the constitutional route which we cannot do in
a matter of days or even months or even years.
That is the approach taken in most of the 43 States where Gov-
ernors have been given line-item veto authority, like the gentleman
from Delaware who is now a member of this body.
I think it is terribly important, Mr. Speaker, to make this dis-