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Guest Editorial

Line item veto necessary in controlling spending

The federal government has a responsibility to spend taxpayer dollars wisely and efficiently. This means taking a balanced approach to the federal budget that meets the government's most essential responsibilities while controlling spending.

Within an annual budget of over $2 trillion there are areas that can be scrutinized for inefficiencies and reduced over time in order to achieve a balanced budget - that's just common sense.

By prioritizing and reforming federal spending, I believe the government can achieve savings and avoid tax increases on American workers, families and job-creating businesses.

This month the House of Representatives approved a bill I backed to provide a new curb on federal spending - the line item veto. By providing the President and Congress greater ability to weed out unneeded spending projects that do not represent the best use of taxpayer dollars, we can help reduce wasteful spending and add accountability to the federal budget process.

The measure enables the president to veto individual spending projects, also known as line items, in bills that fund the federal government each year. Congress would then be required to act on the President's proposed eliminations with an up-or-down vote in a timely manner.

Notably, any savings achieved from the line item veto must be devoted to deficit reduction - and cannot simply be used for additional spending in another area.

The Legislative Line Item Veto Act of 2006 must now be approved by the Senate before it can be sent to the White House to be signed into law.

In addition to the line item veto, I have long supported amending the Constitution to require a balanced budget each year. I also believe we must address the growth of federal entitlement programs that increase automatically each year without congressional action or review. I have voted to add transparency and accountability to the federal budget process and I support the elimination of unnecessary federal programs.

I understand that American taxpayers foot the bill for every federal program. These hard-earned dollars must be managed carefully and spent on programs that are both effective and efficient.

Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents Central Washington's 4th Congressional District.

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