June 16, 2016
Today, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers made the following remarks on the House's unveiling of the report from the Task Force on Restoring Constitutional Authority:
"Key to restoring Congress’s Constitutional Authority is reclaiming the power of the purse.
"Our Founding Fathers spelled it out clearly in Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution: 'No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of Appropriations made by law.'
"James Madison described this power of the purse as 'the most complete and effectual' way to obtain a 'redress of every grievance' and to carry 'into effect every just and salutary measure.'
"This is why it is critical that Congress retain – and tighten – its power over federal appropriations. It is one of our most basic duties and one of our greatest responsibilities.
"So how do we bring this power back into the hands of the people?
"First, Congress must pass all appropriations bills annually. Anything less cedes authority to the Executive Branch, undermining the principles of our Constitution.
"Both the House and the Senate must undertake internal reforms to remove any obstacles to passing these bills, including the 60-vote hurdle in the Senate.
"Next, we must address our nation’s real spending problem: uncontrollable, automatic, skyrocketing mandatory spending that makes up two-thirds of our budget. This can be done through overhauling the budget process to allow Congress to more effectively control spending on mandatory programs.
"Third, agencies and bureaucrats must be held accountable if they spend any dollar not specifically directed by Congress. Such actions are violations of federal law and must be treated as such. This also means bringing many outside agencies within the congressional appropriations and oversight process.
"And finally, we should aggressively and strategically use tools we already have – including limiting and conditioning funds – to enforce congressional intent.
"The recommendations of this task force will help reclaim the Constitutional power of the purse. It will make sure that elected Representatives – who are accountable to their people and who know the needs of their districts the best – are the ones to determine how federal funds are spent – not unelected bureaucrats.
"These recommendations will help improve the way Congress functions, give the American people more control over their tax dollars, and ultimately, form a more perfect union, as our Founding Fathers intended."