The Scholarly Commons



Earmarks Beware: The Future of Expedited Rescission

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This paper focuses on the Ryan-Feingold-McCain proposal for expedited rescission authority. The paper begins by recounting a brief history of the modern budget process, including past efforts to enact some version of a line item veto. It then proceeds to discuss the growth over time of the size of the federal budget, particularly in the areas targeted by versions of the legislative line item veto bill: earmarks and targeted tax and tariff breaks. The paper then reviews, and ultimately accepts, the case made by supporters of enhanced rescission authority as the best constitutional option for a line item veto. The paper takes a brief detour from policy into practical politics, looking at the current health of past coalitions that have supported the line item veto, and the situation in the 111th Congress. Finally, the paper returns to policy by rebutting a constitutional criticism leveled against enhanced rescission authority, and urging several improvements to the current proposed legislation.