Will Third Time Be the Charm for Spending Caps?

Legislation from Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to establish discretionary spending caps may get a third vote this week in the Senate after falling one vote short of the needed 60 votes last week. The bipartisan proposal seems to be gaining momentum after getting 56 votes in January during the debt ceiling increase debate.

The sponsors have made some slight changes in order to attract more support. The bill will institute caps for fiscal years 2011 through 2013 and allows exemptions for emergency spending with a 3/5 vote. It is now being offered as an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization bill.

CRFB supports spending caps, which in addition to PAYGO can introduce much-needed fiscal discipline in Congress. Even though discretionary spending is less of a budgetary threat than mandatory spending, it has grown faster than entitlements over the past decade. Controlling discretionary spending will be essential to reducing the federal debt.

Let’s hope the perseverance of Sessions and McCaskill pays off with one more vote for fiscal responsibility.