WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) held a press conference with Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to discuss their proposal to provide the president with an enhanced recession/line-item veto authority. Last month the senators, along with a large bipartisan group of co-sponsors, introduced the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act (S.102), which would give the president a Constitutional line-item veto authority to reduce wasteful appropriations by singling out earmarks and other non-entitlement spending in legislation that is sent to the White House for the president's signature. The administration called for this authority last year, and the senators expect the president to include the proposal in the budget request next week.
A copy of Sen. Carper's remarks for the press conference, as prepared for delivery, follows:
"I want to thank Senator McCain for his dedication and attention to this issue, as well as the other Senators who support our bill.
"I have worked on this issue for a long time, going back to my time in the House of Representatives. I think we can all agree that with an estimated $1.5 trillion deficit this year, it is more important than ever to eliminate wasteful and unnecessary spending.
"The legislation that we've introduced – and that over a quarter of the Senate has endorsed – will provide the President and Congress with an important tool to ensure that tax-payer dollars are spent wisely and effectively.
"This 'budget scalpel' will empower the President to make targeted cuts to trim the fat from spending bills and require Congress to hold an up or down vote on the proposed cuts.
As a former Governor who had similar discretion to cut out unnecessary state spending, I've long called for the President to have this enhanced rescission power.
"While this proposal is certainly no silver bullet for eliminating our deficits and balancing our budgets, it can serve as a helpful addition to our toolbox as we work to eliminate wasteful spending that simply isn't in our country's best interest.
"Under our proposal, the authority will expire at the end of 2015, in order to allow Congress to "test-drive" this new executive power.
"I look forward to working with Sen. McCain, our Congressional colleagues and the administration to quickly enact the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act as part of our larger efforts to restore fiscal responsibility to the federal government."
For more information on the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act, please click here.