A pair of Republicans on the House Rules Committee recently discussed proposals to alter the rules for the consideration of spending bills. The effort drew attention – and opposition – from Rules Committee Democrats and Appropriations Committee Republicans alike.
The controversy centered on a proposal that would have enabled the House to reduce expenditures on mandatory spending programs, the largest of which are Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, during the appropriations process.
While it would be a good idea to provide more opportunities for review of mandatory spending programs, the already troubled appropriations process is not the right vehicle.
As our chart shows, mandatory spending -- which is set by formula and does not require approval through the annual appropriations process -- has ballooned in the past several decades and is projected to continue growing faster than the economy. Many fiscal analysts...