the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Message from the President Regarding the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act


Today, I am pleased to submit to the Congress the enclosed legislative proposal, the "Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act of 2010," along with a section-by-section analysis of the legislation.

This proposal will be another important step in restoring fiscal discipline and making sure that Washington spends taxpayer dollars responsibly.  It will provide a new tool to streamline Government programs and operations, cut wasteful Government spending, and enhance transparency and accountability to the American people.  The legislation will create an expedited procedure to rescind unnecessary spending and to broadly scale back funding levels if warranted.  The legislation would require the Congress to vote up or down on legislation proposed by the President to rescind funding.  This new, enhanced rescission authority will not only empower the President and the Congress to eliminate unnecessary spending, but also discourage waste in the first place.

Now more than ever, it's critical that taxpayer dollars are not wasted on programs that are ineffective, duplicative, or out-dated.  In a time when American families and small business owners are conscious of every dollar and make sure that they manage their budgets wisely, the Federal Government can do no less.  The American people expect and demand that we spend their money with the same discipline.  Allowing taxpayer dollars to be wasted is both an irresponsible use of taxpayer funds and an irresponsible abuse of the public trust.

Recently, the Congress has taken welcome steps to curb wasteful spending.  In 2007, when I served in the Senate, a bipartisan group worked together to eliminate anonymous earmarks and brought new measures of transparency to the process so Americans can better follow how their tax dollars are being spent.  Consequently, we have seen progress -- with earmarks declining since these reforms were passed, including during this past fiscal year.

In addition, my Administration undertook a line-by-line review of the Budget, and put forward approximately $20 billion of terminations, reductions, and savings both for Fiscal Year 2010 and 2011.  While recent administrations have seen between 15 to 20 percent of their proposed discretionary cuts approved by the Congress, for FY 2010, we worked with the Congress to enact 60 percent of proposed cuts.

Despite the progress we have made to reduce earmarks and other unnecessary spending, there is still more work to be done.  The legislation I am sending to you today provides an important tool.  The legislation allows the President to target spending policies that do not have a legitimate and worthy public purpose by providing the President with an additional authority to propose the elimination of wasteful or excessive funding.  These proposals then receive expedited consideration in the Congress and a guaranteed up-or-down vote.  This legislation would also allow the President to delay funding for these projects until the Congress has had the chance to consider the changes.  In addition, this proposal has been crafted to preserve the constitutional balance of power between the President and the Congress.

Overall, the "Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act of 2010" provides a new way for the Congress and the President to manage taxpayer dollars wisely.  That is why I urge the prompt and favorable consideration of this proposal, and look forward to working with the Congress on this matter in the coming weeks.


May 24, 2010.