WASHINGTON -- The Concord Coalition today urged Congress to reject the $15 billion emergency supplemental spending bill for fiscal year 1999 that was approved last week by a House-Senate conference committee.
"Congress is using the emergency spending loophole to create a new budgetary concept -- spend-as-you-go (SAY-GO). Fiscally responsible Members of both parties should put an end to SAY-GO by rejecting this emergency supplemental," said Concord Coalition Policy Director Robert Bixby.
Concord does not question that legitimate emergencies need to be funded in a timely manner. However, this bill clearly violates the emergency criteria Congress voted for just one month ago.
"Congress is taking full advantage of the fact that non-emergency funds added to an emergency bill do not have to compete within the normal appropriations process. These items get a free ride based
on the position of their sponsor, not based on their own merit," Bixby said. "What's more, using the emergency loophole to fund non-emergency items makes a mockery of solemn promises to stay within the budget caps and preserve the Social Security surplus."
The bill's back-door spending provisions will allow higher spending than currently permitted under the budget caps. This will lead to higher short-term and long-term spending by making it all the more difficult to keep within current and future caps.
"Before voting for this bill, Members need to ask themselves whether it's right to use the dedicated resources of Social Security to pay for items which are clearly non-emergencies. And, a President who has promised to save every penny of the Social Security surplus should not sign this bloated and disgraceful bill," Bixby said.