GOP spending purists propose rules tweak

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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The first significant policy push in the new Congress by Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, the incoming chair of the House Republican Study Committee, will be an effort to reduce the House’s ability to spend funds from savings derived from defeated earmark proposals.

A press release issued today by Brian Straessle, the communications director of the Republican Study Committee, notes that House Republicans will vote Tuesday afternoon on the plan, with the full House considering the proposal on Wednesday.

The plan, offered in an amendment to the a House rules package, is sponsored by Republican Reps. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Tom Graves of Georgia, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, and Jordan. The amendment aims to create spending reduction accounts that will retain money saved from earmarks that are voted down.

An editorial published on Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal describes the potential effect:

Currently, if Congress kills a $300 million Bridge to Nowhere, that money merely goes somewhere else. The new rule says that a successful amendment to strike money from a spending bill will transfer that money to an account that will reduce total amounts appropriated.

“Our amendment would prevent any reductions approved by the House from being used to increase spending in another bill,” Straessle said in a press release.

“I urge House Republicans in the strongest terms to adopt this amendment to make the new Spending Reduction Accounts more bullet-proof,” says Jordan, who will lead the Conservative Republican Study Committee in the 112th Congress.

The amendment would grant control of the spending reduction accounts to the full House, rather than the Appropriations Committee.

A description of the proposed changes, provided in Straessle’s statement, explains that the changes would require the Budget Committee to publish in the Congressional Record the balances of the spending reduction accounts.