« PreviousContinue »
One realization we must come to is that the Congress doesn't have to do that much to reassert itself. If we take some affirmative actions such as placing strict controls on the practice of impoundment, seriously scrutinizing the activities of the Office of Management and Budget, and working, at the same time, to put our own fiscal house in order, we will have come a long way toward making the Congress the coequal branch it is supposed to be.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee for 14 years, I am deeply concerned about the practice of impoundment. The Appropriations Committees in the House and the Senate spend literally thousands of man-hours putting together the appropriations bills. The President signs these bills into law, and then refuses to spend some of the appropriated funds. In the interest of economy, the Executive has assumed a selective veto over programs which he views as being ineffective or undesirable. These are judgments for the Congress, not the Executive to make.
Congress has always refused to give the President a selective veto. Yet, by allowing the practice of impoundment to continue, Congress has effectively given him this power. The time has come for us to say, “No more!”
While the practice of impoundment is not unique to this administration, it is now becoming a problem of immense proportions. Nearly every day we learn that yet one more program is being cut back or eliminated, and this is all done without any consultation
with the Congress.
The funds that have been impounded were authorized and appropriated by law. It is the President's job to execute these laws, not to frustrate the intent of the lawmakers.
On February 10 we will receive OMB's report on the funds which the administration has impounded. When that message comes, the Congress will have a choice of doing two things. One—sit and wring its hands proclaiming how terrible it is that the President is refusing to support these programs and activities funded by law. Or, two act as quickly as possible to restrict presidential impoundments.
I believe that the Congress must follow the latter course. On January 3, I introduced the Congressional Spending Power Act (H.R. 415). Í respectfully ask that a copy of this bill be included as a part of this record. Senator CHILES. Without objection, it will be so included. Mr. CoNTE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. (The bill referred to follows:)
H. R. 415
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
JANUARY 3, 1973 Mr. Conte introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Com
mittee on Rules
A BILL To prohibit the President from impounding any funds, or ap
proving the impounding of funds without the consent of the Congress, and to provide a procedure under which the House of Representatives and the Senate may approve
the President's proposed impoundment. 1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa
2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
3 That this Act may be cited as the “Congressional Spending
4 Power Act of 1973.”
5 SEC. 2. (a) The President shall not impound any funds 6 appropriated by law out of the Treasury for a specific pur7
pose or project, or approve the impounding of such funds 8 by any officer or employee of the United States unless
90-538 0 - 73 - 10
(1) The President shall transmit to the House of Representatives and the Senate a special message specifying
(A) the amount of funds to be impounded,
(B) the specific projects or governmental functions affected thereby, and
(C) the reason for the impounding of such
(2) The Congress shall approve the specific im10 pounding of funds in accordance with the procedure set 11
out in section 5 of this Act within sixty calendar days of 12 continuous session after the special message is received 13 by the Congress. 14 (b) Each special message submitted pursuant to subsec15 tion (a) shall be transmitted to the House of Representatives 16 and the Senate on the same day, and shall be delivered to 17 the Clerk of the House of Representatives if the House is not 18 in session, and to the Secretary of the Senate if the Senate 19 is not in session. Each such message shall be printed as a
20 document of each House.
(c) If the Congress does not consider the special mes22 sage submitted pursuant to subsection (a) within the 23 sixty-day period referred to in subsection (a), approval of 24 the proposed impounding of funds shall be deemed to have
25 been refused.
SEC. 3. Whenever the Congress shall refuse to approve a
2 proposed impounding of funds set forth in a special message 3 submitted pursuant to section 2 (a), the President shall not 4 again submit a special message to the Congress proposing to 5 impound any of such funds in whole or in part during the
6 same fiscal year.
SEC. 4. For purposes of this Act, the impounding of
8 funds includes
(a) the withholding of funds (whether by establishing reserves or otherwise) appropriated for projects or activities, and the termination of authorized projects or activities for which appropriations have been made,
(b) the delaying of the expenditure or obligation 15 of funds beyond the close of the fiscal year in which the 16 expenditure or obligation was intended by the Congress 17 in appropriating such funds. 18
Sec. 5. (a) The following subsections of this section 19 are enacted by the Congress
(1) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the 21 House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively,
and as such they shall be deemed as a part of the rules 23
of each House, respectively, but applicable only with 24
respect to the procedure to be followed in that House
in the case of resolutions described in this section; and
they shall supersede other rules only to the extent that they are inconsistent therewith; and
(2) with full recognition of the constitutional right
of either House to change the rules (so far as relating to the procedure of that House) at any time, in any manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any
other rule of that House.
8 (b) (1) For purposes of this section, the term "reso9 lution" means only a concurrent resolution of the House of 10 Representatives or the Senate, as the case may be, which is 11 introduced and acted upon by both Houses before the end 12 of the first period of sixty calendar days of continuous session 13 of the Congress after the date on which the President's spe14 cial message is received by that House. 15
(2) The matter after the resolving clause of each reso
16 lution shall read as follows: "That the House of Representa
tives (Senate) approves the proposed impounding of funds as set forth in the special message of the President dated
House (Senate) Document numbered " (3) For purposes of this subsection, the continuity of a session is broken only by an adjournment of the Congress sine die, and the days on which either House is not in session because of an adjournment of more than three days to a day certain shall be excluded from the computation of the sixty day period.
(c) (1) A resolution introduced with respect to a special