Allahpundit usually owns the zombie beat here at Hot Air, but he gets to write about the entertaining zombies. I get the zombies that produce much less fun. These zombies feast on our economic lifesource by feeding on our taxes … and feeding … and feeding. Even when they are supposed to die, they continue to exist in the dark. These federal programs live on even though Congress has not acted to reauthorize them, getting funding while never getting reapproved.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers wants to address this in a new bill, the Unauthorized Spending Accountability Act of 2016 (or USA Act). A week ago, she also published this short and funny “horror” ad bout zombie government programs to dramatize the issue:
“The Founding Fathers intended a government ‘deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”’ McMorris Rodgers said. “As we build a bold, forward-looking agenda, a top priority is to restore the voice of ‘We, the People.’ We hear the frustrations of families and individuals whose power to make the best decisions for themselves has been taken away by a government that thinks it knows best and isn’t being held accountable.
“These frustrations are a symptom of the people losing their power to ensure every penny of taxpayer money is subject to citizens’ scrutiny and accountability. Too much of the government is currently on autopilot, and it’s time to challenge the status quo.
“A big part of the problem is due to what people in Washington, D.C. call ‘unauthorized spending’ — spending on government programs that have not been authorized by the people’s representatives. This means that the American people are prevented from exercising their power of the purse. When unauthorized spending is stopped through the USA Act, it will reclaim power for every man, woman, and child in this country.”
In a CNN report on reauthorization, by Jake Tapper, this was described as “Zombie” government programs. CLICK HEREto view this short zombies-inspired video released by McMorris Rodgers on Friday, March 11,2016.
H.R. 4730, The Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act of 2016 puts all unauthorized programs on a pathway to sunset in 3 years and requires any new authorizations or reauthorizations to include a sunset clause. This means every government program will be routinely scrutinized and updated by the People’s representatives.
The USA Act would force Congress to address these unauthorized programs by imposing a three-year sunset arc that would eventually deny all funding to them, absent Congressional action. The first year after expiration, a program would lose 1o% of its funding, and then 15% in years two and three — and 100% in year four. Not only would this force the executive branch to seek authorization and funding from Congress, it also provides Congress a nifty mechanism for allowing programs to die on the vine without much need for intervention. It helps restore the power of the purse, or at least breathes a little more life into it.
I spoke with Rep. McMorris Rodgers earlier today about the USA Act. We agree that the best long-term solution is a balanced budget amendment and zero-based budgeting, but this at least provides a kick start to fiscal control of a bloated and largely unaccountable executive branch.