Government spending news roundup

June 7, 2010

There are several stories in the news today that contend lawmakers are finally feeling — and responding to — pressure from the American public to get spending under control.

The Chicago Tribune reports today Congress has “stripped down” a package including an extension of jobless benefits from more than $200 billion before Memorial Day recess to $54 billion now. Rightly so, as Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA) told The Tribune, “There is a fiscal standard that is more rigorous than a year ago. That’s as it should be:  A year ago we were in a recession. Today we are managing a recovery.”

And The Wall Street Journal reports the White House plans to ask Congress for additional authority to help agencies save money, and direct at least half of the savings to deficit reduction.

We wish we could say it was all good news today, but it’s not. The Washington Times reports Congress is under pressure to pass another stimulus bill. The Times points out that, since 2008, the government has spent $1.1 trillion to direct spending to stimulate the economy.

And then there is the unfortunate story in The New York Times about lawmakers refusing to engage constituents directly about their concerns. The Times reports only a handful of lawmakers held town hall meetings last week despite Congress shutting down for it’s annual Memorial Day “district work period.”

We applaud any and all efforts to trim government fat, but lawmakers may be missing some of the best ideas for cutting waste by not engaging the very people they represent. If you missed your representative on his vacation last week, you can still let him know your thoughts.

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