The Appropriations Committee Returns to Conservative Roots

Article excerpt

If congressional Republicans continue on the present course the United States will go "back to the future" in its spending habits. The resulting discipline within government will mean more freedom and prosperity for the American people in the 21st century. To understand what I mean, consider a brief history lesson:

One hundred thirty years ago, the House of Representatives established the Appropriations Committee specifically to curb runaway spending. For decades thereafter, whenever other committees tried to make end runs around the Appropriations Committee, their goal was to escape the discipline of the appropriations process.

During the last 60 years of almost unbroken Democratic control of the House, however, the role of appropriators changed. While the committee still provided an orderly process and technical expertise to make sound discretionary spending decisions, it also became the place to go for those seeking to spend more and more of the taxpayers' money.

But the new Republican majority is reversing the bad habits of 60 years. The Appropriations Committee once again is a place at which spending discipline may be imposed, just as originally intended. Already this year we have passed two rescissions bills to save more than $20 billion that originally was appropriated for this fiscal year. Then, for fiscal 1996, the 13 bills passed by the House would save another $20 billion and completely eliminate 208 programs. Moreover, we also have restricted funding for enforcement of some of the worst regulatory excesses of the federal bureaucracy.

The committee's return to its original role win have a profound impact on how Americans perceive the federal government. If the savings trend continues, two major results will emerge.

First, of course, the government will remain on target toward a balanced budget, which will save us from fiscal insolvency and increase rather than lower the standard of living for future generations. …