Cutting the Budget and Exposing Patronage

Paul Ryan, in a lecture posted at The Heritage Foundation, in two paragraphs provides an elegant proposal to make the currently secretive budgeting process more transparent and cut spending.  The key is to embarrass legislators, showing them in their emperors’ new clothes by exposing their naked patronage.

With the legislative line-item veto, we are trying to fix the flawed rescissions system so that it can finally serve as a practical tool for cutting govern­ment waste and embarrassing pork out of the system in the first place. Under our proposal, the President can single out a specific item of pork-barrel spend­ing when a bill lands on his desk for signature and send that item back to Congress for a separate vote on whether to retain or rescind this spending.
For example, let’s take the $50 million rain forest museum in Iowa. With the legislative line-item veto, the President can take that $50 million rain forest museum piece out of the larger spending bill, send it back to Congress, and within 10 days we have to vote on it, up or down: no filibusters, no amendments, clean votes up or down in Congress. This way the Congress has the final say-so. The Congress retains its power of the purse, and the Congress is the final decision-maker as to whether spending is executed or not. It just gives the Presi­dent the ability to pull line-item provisions out and have us vote independently on those items after he signs in the overall bill into law.