all the gimmicks you want, call them balanced budget amend-
ments, line-item veto, Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, whatever you like,
but you are going to balance the budget by either spending less or
taking in more.
Now, what the Castle-Solomon amendment wants you to do is re-
linquish your responsibility, that responsibility that the people who
elected you have given you. What the Castle-Solomon amendment
would do is allow you to relinquish that responsibility, to a large
degree, to the President.
The Constitution gives us the responsibility, but Castle-Solomon
would give it to the President with a one-third-plus-one majority.
What you would be saying to your constituents back home is, "You
might have thought when you elected me that I had what it took
to vote 'no' on some expenditures, but you were wrong. You were
wrong. I do not want that responsibility, because I cannot handle
it. I am going to vote for Mr. Solomon's amendment, and we are
going to give that responsibility to the President of the United
Now, if you want to go home and say to your constituents, "You
elected me to deal with this problem, and I am going to deal with
it," then you vote for Stenholm, because what Stenholm is about
is accountability of this body and accountability down at 1600
I do not want to have to send out fliers, as the gentleman from
New York [Mr. SOLOMON] has suggested, right before the election
telling your constituents that you did not have what it took. No,
sir, you voted the easy way out; you voted for Solomon, and are no
Vote for Stenholm. Vote against Castle-Solomon.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
The CHAIRMAN pro tempore (Mr. DE la Garza). All time has
The question is on the amendment in the nature of a substitute,
offered by the gentleman from Delaware [Mr. Castle], as amend-
The question was taken; and the Chairman pro tempore an-
nounced that the noes appeared to have it.
Mr. CASTLE. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
A recorded vote was ordered.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were â€” ayes
198, noes 219, not voting 20, as follows:
[RoU No. 146]
T T A
de la Garza
Johnson, E. B.
NOT VOTINGâ€” 20
de Lugo (VI)
The Clerk announced the following pair:
On this vote:
Mr. Calvert for, with Mr. Dellums against.
Mr. MOAKLEY and Mr. SLATTERY changed their vote from
"aye" to "no."
Mr. PENNY changed his vote from "no" to "aye."
So the amendment in the nature of a substitute, as amended,
The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
Mr. HOKE. Mr. Chairman, we have two complex proposals before
us today, and I have no doubt that the Castle-Solomon alternative
makes it more difficult for Congress to spend money on wasteful
programs. I therefore prefer this clear and airtight legislation, and
I strongly urge my colleagues to pass it.
But this occasion is a unique moment to the House â€” we have two
versions of a bill proposed by the two different parties upholding
the same general concept and both making improvements to cur-
rent law. I ask my colleagues to consider carefully this time and
their votes â€” rarely does the House have an opportunity to drain
the partisan poison from its debates, but we could do so now.
The Spratt-Stenholm bill has some fatal flaws, yet it would move
this body perhaps an inch closer to fiscal accountability. It im-
proves the existing process by requiring House and Senate votes on
a Presidential rescission package and giving Congress only 20 rath-
er than 45 legislative days to dispose of the matter. I will therefore
vote for this measure if it is the only one standing at the end of
I regret, however, that we do not have the opportunity to con-
sider H.R. 1578 under an open rule. This bill leaves huge par-
liamentary gaps into which we could still pour funds proposed for
rescission. The legislative language of the majority's proposal, for
example, remains silent on what happens to rescissions if Congress
takes no action after the 20 legislative days. Proponents of Spratt-
Stenholm contend that the money remains impounded indefinitely;
opponents make the charge that it would have to reenter the budg-
A simple amendment to the bill could have settled this glaring
open question. I also have difficulty with those provisions of H.R.
1578 that allow the Appropriations Committee to present a rival
package of rescissions and permit a simple majority of either House
to block the President's recommendations. The Castle-Solomon bill,
on the other hand, would give Congress 20 days to pass a formal
resolution of disapproval of a Presidential rescission package if the
spending cuts were really distasteful to us. If we failed to take this
action, the rescissions would automatically go into effect.
Castle-Solomon, therefore, has the ironic effect of converting
gridlock and inaction into real budget cuts.
But the politics that have been driving enhanced rescission for-
ward to this point are neither Republican nor Democrat â€” it's re-
form politics. And while this spirit is in the air of our Chamber,
we should not sacrifice it at the altar of partisanship.
I will vote in support of both plans, Mr. Chairman, because we
should go home tonight only after making it easier for the Presi-
dent to cut unnecessary Federal spending. Support the final pas-
sage of a bill later today that will engrave this principle into law.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, today the House considers H.R.
1578, legislation to provide expedited rescission authority for the
President, a matter under the jurisdiction of the Committee on
In March, the Government Operations Legislation Subcommittee
held a wide ranging hearing on this subject with witnesses from
the administration, the distinguished minority leader Bob Michel
and other interested Members, the Congressional Budget Office,
the General Accounting Office and academia. We received the testi-
mony of our former colleague, 0MB Director Leon Panetta who re-
peated President Clinton's call for the adoption of expedited rescis-
Since the hearing, the Committee on Government Operations
and Congressman JOHN SPRATT have worked diligently with the
administration and 0MB Director Panetta, the majority leader and
other committed Members of Congress.
All of us are committed to eliminating wasteful and unproductive
spending. The Committee on Government Operations has vigor-
ously exercised its oversight function, holding a series of hearings
to address fraud, waste, and other abuses throughout the Federal
Government. Last year, the committee issued a report identifying
over $300 billion in Grovernment mismanagement and waste, along
with recommendations for improvement, many of which were incor-
porated into the President's budget.
Historically, one tool to cut wasteful Federal spending has been
rescission authority. Since the adoption of the Impoundment Con-
trol Act of 1974, Congress has rescinded over $86 billion in unnec-
essary budget authority, nearly 25 percent more than proposed by
As attractive and successful as rescission authority has been, I
want to clarify its limitations. Rescission authority is not a panacea
or cure all for the Federal deficit. During our Government Oper-
ations hearing, the GAO testified that total enacted rescissions
since 1974 represent only 3 percent of the accumulated Federal
debt and rescissions have never exceeded 23 percent of any single
year's deficit. However, to reduce the current $319 billion deficit by
a comparable 23 percent would require rescinding $73 billion, more
than 13 percent of all fiscal year 1993 discretionary appropriations.
This would nearly be the equivalent of rescinding the entire 1993
budget for the Departments of Education, Justice, State, Energy,
and Interior. Clearly, rescission authority cannot solve the deficit
problem on its own.
I am troubled by the potential for abuse and many of the con-
cerns you have heard or will hear today reflect congressional con-
cern fueled by administrative abuses of the 1970's. In fact. Con-
gress adopted the Impoundment Control Act to address the misuse
of an administration's impoundment authority to unilaterally and
indefinitely cancel spending for selected programs. Consequently,
this expedited rescission authority carefully provides for a limited
trial run and the authority expires 2 years after enactment.
The legislation before the House is a modest effort to create a
limited additional deficit reduction tool for the President. The legis-
lation provides the President with a certainty of a vote on the
President's rescission proposals, guaranteeing an accelerated, expe-
dited process through Congress. The bill would permit the Presi-
dent to submit rescissions to Congress within 3 days of signing an
appropriations bill and Congress must vote on these rescissions
within 10 legislative days.
If the Appropriations Committee believes they can craft a better
rescission package, they are free to report an alternative rescission
proposal as well, provided it rescinds an equal or greater amount
of budget authority. If the President's rescissions are defeated, this
alternative proposal is automatically brought before the House for
a vote. Additionally, nothing prohibits or impedes Congress from
reporting additional rescissions under our constitutional power of
the purse. This bill won't impede our authority to reconsider pro-
grams and rescind spending that fails to match with Federal prior-
ities. Congress can continue to pass rescissions in addition to any
of the President's rescission proposals under this authority.
President Clinton's budget moves the country forward, address-
ing both the budget deficit and our national investment deficit, re-
investing in critical spending priorities such as education and
health. However, the Nation needs to move away from huge deficit
increases accumulated during the past two administrations. Three-
quarters of the total Federal debt has been accumulated during the
past 12 years. With a projected 1993 budget deficit of approxi-
mately $319 billion and over $4.1 trillion in aggregated Federal
debt, the President could benefit from additional, stronger deficit
reduction tools to rein in unnecessary Federal spending. I support
the modest proposals of H.R. 1578 and urge its adoption.
Mr. FRANKS of Connecticut. Mr. Chairman, since President
Clinton introduced his budget on February 17, my constituents in
Connecticut have given me hundreds of suggestions to balance the
budget without tax increases. Many of these suggestions focus on
the wasteful spending that is slipped into large bills that the public
supports. These people know that the deficit is not the result of an
inadequate tax burden on Americans, but the result of frivolous
A major step toward reducing the deficit is passing legislation
that allows the President to cut out the billions of dollars in waste
that gets inserted in large bills. However, the expedited rescission
bill, H.R. 1578, that is being advanced today as the solution to
wasteful spending, is actually a sham. Under this bill, rescissions
would go into effect only if the House and Senate approved them
by majority vote. This bill is little more than political posturing by
the perpetual promoters of pork.
We need to force the Members of Congress who support these
pork projects to be accountable for their wasteful spending. The
Castle-Solomon amendment is the most powerful legislation before
us today to cut the waste out of serious legislation. It provides for
the automatic adoption of the President's rescissions unless both
the House and Senate disapprove them. If a Member of Congress
wants to protect some wasteful spending, that Member has to vote
to preserve the program, even after it has been identified as waste-
ful spending by the President of the United States.
Cutting waste should not be difficult. And once cutting waste be-
comes easy, Members of Congress will be less likely to slide waste-
ful pork programs into serious legislation. I have sponsored a bill
giving the President constitutional power to make line-item vetoes.
I feel that this is the power a President should have to combat
waste. Although the Castle-Solomon amendment is not as ideal as
a constitutional line-item veto, it is significant because it forces
Congress to take an active and open stand on waste.
President Clinton said during his campaign that he was a sup-
porter of the line-item veto â€” the same power he had as Governor
of Arkansas. Now the President is trying to portray diluted expe-
dited rescission legislation as a line-item veto. Well, the President
neglects to recognize the constitutional definition of a veto. The
votes of at least two-thirds of both Houses of Congress are required
to override a veto. This phony line-item veto is yet another example
of President Clinton reneging on his campaign promises â€” some-
thing we have seen many times during these dismal first 100 days.
Mr. HUGHES. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 1578, the
Expedited Rescissions Act of 1993. I wish to commend my col-
leagues Charlie Stenholm and John Spratt as well as our
former colleague Tom Carper, who is now the Governor of Dela-
ware, for their leadership in developing this innovative mechanism
to tighten the reins on Government spending.
It has long been the tradition of Congress to bundle the thou-
sands of Federal spending programs we oversee into the 13 appro-
priations bills. While this process helps to assure that Federal
funds are distributed fairly, it is clear that this process has been
All too often, we hear stories about projects which have been
slipped into appropriations bills without undergoing the required
scrutiny of the authorization process. In other instances, our needs
simply change over the course of the year, and we find there is
room to reduce or eliminate funding which has been included in ap-
H.R. 1578 will provide a mechanism to do just that, while still
maintaining the constitutionally mandated balance of power be-
tween Congress and the President when it comes to the appropria-
tion of funds.
H.R. 1578 will give the President the authority to pick out of ap-
propriations bills which he signs, those items which he feels are ex-
cessive, or which should not have been included in the bill in the
first place. The President would then submit his list of proposed re-
scissions to Congress, where they would have to be voted on under
an expedited review process.
Specifically, the House would have to 'vote within 17 days on the
President's request, followed by a Senate vote some 10 days later.
A simple majority vote in both the House and Senate is all that
would be required in order for the rescissions to take effect.
This is similar to the line-item veto authority which many Mem-
bers have advocated, in that it would go a long way toward increas-
ing the accountability of the appropriations process. The major dif-
ference is that it would maintain Congress' constitutional preroga-
tive to appropriate funds, without unduly shifting power to the ex-
While I support the expedited rescission process, I do not think
anyone should view this as a magic cure for our deficit problem. If
you recall last year. President Bush went over every appropriations
bill with a fine-tooth comb, and he came up with a list of some $5.7
billion in proposed rescissions.
Most of his rescissions came from the proposed cancellation of
the second and third Seawolf submarines which the Bush adminis-
tration itself had requested. We ended up rescinding even more
than the President had requested â€” some $5.8 billion.
While that is a lot of money, it barely put a dent in our nearly
$400 billion Federal deficit. It just goes to show that while the ex-
pedited rescission process is a good step in the right direction, we
still have to do a lot more to really get the deficit under control.
That includes doing a better job of scrutinizing appropriations
bills, to identify spending programs which we do not need or cannot
aiford. It also means following up on that scrutiny by making the
tough choices to cut programs, regardless of their popularity or po-
The expedited rescission process is a good first step toward re-
storing discipline to the budget process, and I would urge my col-
leagues to join me in supporting this legislation.
Mr. EWING. Mr. Chairman, the so-called line-item veto, or en-
hanced rescission, legislation being brought before the House, the
Stenholm-Spratt proposal, is a paper tiger. It will do little more
than make some adjustments to the current rescission process, and
this bill is wholly inadequate.
This is another in a long list of broken promises. Just like we
keep being told by the leadership that the budget will be balanced,
that Congress will be reformed, now we are being told that the
line-item veto is going to become law. Like the Wall Street Journal
recently stated, this is not the line-item veto, it is line-item voodoo.
A real line-item veto, like the one I am sponsoring, would require
a supermajority vote in Congress to override the President's veto
of a wasteful spending item. My legislation would require a three-
fifths vote, and other legislation would require a three-fourths vote.
However, under the Stenholm-Spratt bill a simple majority in ei-
ther House of Congress could lall spending cuts. This makes no
sense since a simple majority passed the spending in the first
place. The Stenholm-Spratt bill takes the teeth out of the line-item
I also believe we need a constitutional amendment guaranteeing
a line-item veto. Statutory authority, such as Stenholm-Spratt, can
be taken away by the Congress just as easily as it is given. Indeed,
this bill only grants enhanced rescission for 2 years.
Finally, under this bill the appropriations committees could
present alternative spending cuts to the President's proposals.
What kind of smoke and mirrors is this? Congress ought to be
forced to vote on spending cuts requested by the President. That
is what a line-item veto is all about.
For all these faults, at least the Stenholm-Spratt bill will force
votes on spending, and I will support it as a step in the right direc-
tion because it will force some spending programs to stand on their
own merit. However, it is not a very big step.
Stenholm-Spratt is not a line-item veto, and nobody should be-
lieve that it is.
Mr. STENHOLM. Mr. Chairman, in order to ensure that the
record on H.R. 1578 is as complete as possible, I am submitting for
the Record information intended to answer any questions about
this legislation as well as several letters from various business and
taxpayer groups supporting this legislation. I am also submitting
for the Record a letter from President Bill Clinton expressing his
support for this legislation.
Questions and Answers â€” Modified Line-Item Veto Legislation
How does Modified Line-item veto differ from the traditional
Traditional line-item veto proposals require % of both the House
and Senate to disapprove of a Presidential proposal to eliminate a
spending item. In other words, the President would need to gain
the support of just Va of either chamber to eliminate individual
spending items. In contrast, modified line-item veto requires that
a majority of both chambers must approve a President rescission
in order to eliminate the spending items.
In addition, under most line-item veto proposals require that the
President propose to eliminate an entire line-item. In most in-