Friday, January 22, 2010

Isakson Co-Sponsors Constitutional Amendment to Balance Federal Budget, Give President Line-Item Veto Power

‘The Way the Government Is Operating Is Not Only Unsustainable, It Is a Recipe for Disaster and Failure’

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today announced that he is again co-sponsoring a constitutional amendment that would allow the President to use the line-item veto to either eliminate or reduce appropriations in any bill passed by the Congress. The amendment would also require Congress to balance the federal budget.

“As a businessman, I more than recognize that the way the government is operating is not only unsustainable, it is a recipe for disaster and failure,” Isakson said. “This amendment will force Congress to become better stewards of the taxpayers’ money and give the President much-needed authority to remove items from appropriations bills that are considered wasteful on a national perspective.”

Isakson noted that governors in 43 states – including Georgia – have line-item veto authority.

Congress passed a line-item veto bill in 1996, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. The 1996 bill allowed the president to cancel, but not reduce, spending items in appropriation bills. The legislation Isakson is co-sponsoring would give the President more flexibility by allowing him to cancel or reduce any appropriation passed by Congress.

“One of the problems we have in America with deficit spending is spending money on projects that by anybody's definition are unnecessary projects,” Isakson said. “We need to have politicians justifying what they just spent rather than promising what they will spend.”

Isakson said he is committed to trying to pass legislation to curb federal spending and to demand more accountability from programs that receive federal dollars. In addition to cosponsoring the line-item veto legislation consistently during his time in the Senate, Isakson also has introduced legislation to reform the federal budget process by converting it from an annual spending process to a two-year cycle, with one year for appropriating federal dollars and the other year devoted to oversight of federal programs. Isakson also has co-sponsored bipartisan legislation that would establish a task force charged with making recommendations on how to improve the government’s long-term fiscal imbalances.
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