OMB chief urges Congress to cut funding for mismanaged programs

Office of Management and Budget Chief Mitch Daniels on Tuesday urged Congress to use the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act to identify mismanaged, wasteful or duplicative government programs, with an eye to cutting their funding as the appropriations process moves forward.

Daniels, who is entering his first appropriations cycle as the Bush administration's point man on the budget, said, "The burden is on Congress and especially the appropriations process" to tie performance and results to future funding.

"Are we going to continue to fund the same old tired programs? ... There have to be some consequences," Daniels said.

The OMB director told reporters that even with control of the Senate shifting to Democrats, Congress and the White House can collaborate on an "orderly, responsible appropriations process" and complete action on the fiscal 2002 spending bills on time and within the $661.3 billion allocated for discretionary spending in the budget resolution.

But most Democrats, among them new Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and new Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.V., opposed the budget resolution partly because they said it shortchanged spending on domestic priorities.

Daniels also welcomed the efforts of Sens. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Jim Bunning, R-Ky., to bolster the President's hand, should he choose to veto spending bills he deems too expensive. He said the "spirit of enforcing budget discipline is helpful wherever it manifests itself."

Voinovich and Bunning hope to collect the signatures of 34 senators--enough to sustain a presidential veto--on a letter pledging their support for enforcing the spending limits set in the budget resolution.

Daniels stopped short of threatening hypothetical vetoes in the President's name. But when asked what Bush will do if Congress adds new spending to the nearly $7 billion fiscal 2001 supplemental the administration sent to Capitol Hill last Friday, Daniels responded, "We would advise them not to do that."

He stressed that the administration remains flexible about the composition of the supplemental, but not its overall price tag.

"The lid is the lid," he said.

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