Yeah right, you may say...Congress and fiscal discipline...isn't that an oxymoron?
Just got an email from Senator Warner of VA stating just that however. Abbreviated version of his suggestion is below:
Sen Warner wrote:
WASHINGTON -- The return of Congress in the new year presents an opportunity to take a clear-eyed look at our fiscal priorities and examine the potential threats posed by long term budget deficits and unrestrained federal spending.
When I served as governor, Virginia earned national respect for its distinctively bipartisan approach to effective government and its commitment to balanced budgets. These accolades were the result of much hard work and many tough choices -- but most of us serving in Richmond recognized the need to act in a bipartisan way to move Virginia forward.
We need to establish policies now that will kick in after the current economic downturn has ended -- policies that phase in, over time, some of the solutions that will ensure the nation's long-term fiscal stability.
That's why I have joined a bipartisan group of senators and representatives, including Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf, in co-sponsoring legislation to create a commission on federal budget and entitlement reform.
We are calling for creation of a bipartisan task force that will make sweeping budget and revenue recommendations to be presented to Congress, with no amendments allowed, for a simple up-or-down vote.
As we've seen in the current health care debate, legislative deal-making too often allows parochial and political considerations to trump the national interest.
That's why I believe this Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action could serve as the basis for a new process to tackle this fiscal challenge.
Everything would be on the table, including spending and revenues. We can't solve this challenge by looking at only one side of the ledger.
The task force recommendations would be considered by Congress under expedited procedures with a "yes" or "no" vote required.
Most important, the task force approach would ensure a bipartisan outcome. A supermajority of the task force members would have to agree to adopt the recommendations, and congressional approval would require supermajorities in both the Senate and House.
This is the only way needed changes are going to be adopted and maintained over time.
Couldn't help but respond with my own rejoinder below...think all like-minded folks should urge their Congressman and Senator to support Warner's initiative with the first piece of legislation to undergo the scrutiny being HealthCare Reform...
First, I applaud your efforts to regain fiscal discipline in Congress. However, I would urge you to apply that same discipline to current initiatives e.g. HealthCare currently moving through Congress. Use Healthcare as a first test of the feasibility and strength of your proposal. I would also urge you to revisit other initiatives enacted this past year including the Stimululus Bill and suspend any further expenditures under that Bill until it can pass the muster of your bipartisan commission.
Your actions and votes in Congress do not inspire trust that you really care about fiscal discipline first, and party discipline second. I would welcome the proof of your re-commitment to strict fiscal policy by your public statements that all Congressional initiatives will undergo the commission's scrutiny and first and foremost will be Health Care Reform.