The House Rules Committee today holds important hearings on sunset legislation.
The leading sunset bill, H.R. 2, will double the proportion of the Federal budget that is subject to periodic review. It will ensure that we take a hard look at most Federal programs at least once a decade. Based on those reviews, inefficient and outmoded programs will be changed or eliminated. To assure that the process works, programs will be terminated unless affirmatively reenacted.
Too many Federal programs have been allowed to continue indefinitely without examining whether they are accomplishing what they were meant to do. The country's needs and priorities change, and we must assure that Government programs change with them. Along with civil service reform, reorganization, zero-based budgeting, and regulatory reform, sunset will help make the Government more efficient, more economical, and more responsive. That is why I have long supported the sunset approach.
In addition, H.R. 2 provides for sunset reviews for tax expenditures, and I support that provision. Tax expenditures total over $150 billion. These programs involve spending money for social goals, and they need regular reviews just as much as direct spending programs.
Sunset is a vital tool for controlling the Federal deficit. I congratulate Representatives Blanchard, Gephardt, and Mineta for sponsoring H.R. 2, and I congratulate Chairmen Bolling and Long and Congressman Derrick for the careful study they are giving to this bill and related proposals. I urge the Congress to move forward this year.