OMB director warns Congress to restrain spending

Just days after sending the Bush administration's $27.1 billion fiscal 2002 emergency war supplemental to Congress, Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels Wednesday called on legislators to continue exercising spending restraint by not adding to the cost of the package.

Speaking to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Daniels also predicted the fiscal 2003 budget would come "very close to balance"--forecasting a deficit of "less than $50 billion"--even with the supplemental and recently enacted stimulus package, if Congress keeps to the $679 billion total discretionary spending limit the president set in his budget.

Daniels reiterated President Bush's position that "anything not directly related to the emergency would have to be offset" if it is added to the supplemental--but declined to threaten a veto if his admonition is ignored.

However, Daniels left little doubt about the administration's commitment to spending restraint, telling the Chamber, "We mean business about concentrating whatever increases are required on the real task at hand," the war on terrorism, and limiting to 2 percent increases elsewhere in the budget."

"No business as usual," Daniels warned about the coming appropriations cycle. "No guns and butter." The first test of that, he said, will be the supplemental.

Daniels also endorsed the bipartisan effort in the Senate to reinstate spending caps for fiscal 2003. Although the Senate Budget Committee failed, on a tie vote, to adopt a five-year extension of the caps with tough enforcement language offered by Sens. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., and Judd Gregg, R-N.H., it did adopt an amendment by Budget ranking member Pete Domenici, R-N.M., to set a 2003 cap.

Feingold and Gregg are expected to offer the same amendment during the Senate floor debate on the budget next month; Feingold also may, with Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, offer a more comprehensive budget process reform amendment to the bill to raise the debt ceiling.

Although the administration has called on Congress to send the president stand-alone legislation to raise the debt limit by $750 billion as soon as possible, Daniels later told reporters the administration "would be happy to see it done however it is done."

House GOP leaders have repeatedly said that, without Democratic support, they will move the debt limit bill on the supplemental.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.