Dec 14 2010
Amendment #4764 and #4765 would pay for the costs of extending unemployment insurance payments by reducing unnecessary and duplicative spending.
Click here for amendment #4764 text.
Overview of amendment #4765 —To offset some of the costs of the bill by cutting wasteful spending, eliminating unnecessary programs, and consolidating duplicative programs.
Every member of the Senate claims they want some portion of this bill to be paid for. This amendment would provide an opportunity to do so.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the total increase to the deficit resulting from both the revenue and spending provisions contained within the tax/unemployment insurance (UI) extension bill will be $857.8 billion. Specifically, the bill will increase spending by $136.4 billion.
The bill is written to exempt itself from PAYGO rules which require legislation increasing spending or reducing revenues to be offsets to prevent deficit spending.
This amendment provides $46 billion in savings this year and $156 billion over five years, thereby allowing the Senate to pay for a portion of the bill’s total cost.
The national debt now exceeds $13.8 trillion and the U.S. is expected to reach its debt limit of $14.3 trillion within the next couple months. Congress will then be faced with approving more borrowing or imposing dramatic spending cuts or tax increases. To prevent or reduce the severity of these options, Congress needs to at the very least stop adding to the deficit now.
The U.S. government has run a deficit for 26 straight months. The fiscal year 2010 deficit was nearly $1.3 trillion and the 2009 deficit was $1.4 trillion, the two largest budget shortfalls in history. The deficit for this fiscal year, which just began on October 1, is already more than $290.8 billion and is likely to set a new record high. Unless Congress takes action, $1 trillion annual deficits are projected every year for the foreseeable future, which is clearly an unsustainable amount of borrowing.
Senators cannot say they are concerned about the cost of new spending or the loss of revenues resulting from not increasing taxes while at the same time refusing to provide any suggestions for offsets or rejecting those others are offering.
This amendment provides tens of billions of dollars of savings by eliminating wasteful spending, consolidating duplicative programs, and requiring greater efficiency by all federal agencies. It includes ideas proposed by both Republicans and Democrats. It includes suggestions from President Obama’s bipartisan deficit reduction as well as ideas to terminate programs proposed by both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Among the savings proposed by this amendment:
• A congressional pay freeze and a 15 percent reduction in Congress’ budget;
• A freeze on how much can be spent on the salaries for federal employees and a reduction in the number of government bureaucrats;
• Limiting the amount that the government can spend on printing, travel, and new vehicles;
• Selling unneeded and excess federal property;
• Stopping unemployment benefit payments to jobless millionaires;
• Collecting unpaid taxes owed by federal employees and members of Congress;
• Consolidating duplicative government programs;
• Preventing fraud within federal health care programs;
• Streamlining Defense spending and reducing foreign aid, including voluntary contributions to the United Nations.
This bill is not paid for and the Majority Leader is blocking amendments to pay for the bill’s costs. A vote to suspend the rules to allow consideration of this amendment would allow the Senate to debate the merits of paying for the spending in the underlying bill rather than simply adding billions of dollars to the national debt.
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