- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 30, 2010

Congress must rethink the entire way it spends money, including getting rid of massive multiagency spending bills and forcing lawmakers to cut a program any time they want to start a new one, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Thursday.

Mr. Boehner, who likely would be in line to become speaker if Republicans win the House of Representatives in November, said Congress needs to stop wasting so much time renaming post offices and congratulating sports teams on the House floor, and instead reform the way the chamber does basic business.

In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday afternoon, he proposed rewriting the 1974 Budget Act, which governs Congress‘ most basic power of the purse, and pushed for what he calls “cut as you go” to force lawmakers not to expand government.

“Very simply, under this ‘CutGo’ rule, if it is your intention to create a new government program, you must also terminate or reduce spending on an existing government program of equal or greater size — in the very same bill,” he said.

The proposals come a week after House Republicans released their “Pledge to America,” outlining some big policy goals the GOP will pursue, including repealing the new health care law; cutting nonsecurity, nonentitlement spending to 2008 levels; and limiting the size of the federal work force.

Mr. Boehner’s speech was his own outline of how he thinks the House itself needs to be changed. He said the incentives now are all skewed in favor of more spending.

“Let’s do away with the concept of ‘comprehensive’ spending bills,” he said. “Let’s break them up, to encourage scrutiny and make spending cuts easier. Rather than pairing agencies and departments together, let them come to the House floor individually, to be judged on their own merit.”

With Mr. Boehner’s profile rising, Democrats have launched an effort to try to undercut the image of the would-be speaker.

President Obama has criticized Mr. Boehner by name in recent campaign speeches, and the Democratic National Committee on Thursday released a video recapping Mr. Boehner’s ties with the Washington lobbying community.

John Boehner is the antithesis of someone who should be trusted with reforming Congress or Washington,” DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said.