Congresswoman Martha Roby

Representing the 2nd District of Alabama

Roby: Bill will help end budget 'gimmicks'

February 1, 2012
Roby in the News
The tweets from Rep. Martha Roby’s Twitter account come with the hashtag #noGimmicks.

Roby said the bill she introduced Monday will be a first step towards ending what she calls budget gimmicks that tout savings that really don’t exist.

Roby, R-Montgomery, introduced what is being called the “Honest Budget Act” Wednesday in a joint press conference with Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Senate sponsor of a similar bill. Several co-sponsors from the House and Senate joined.

Roby said the bill closes loopholes in several areas that have allowed the government to announce savings in certain areas when the money was already planned to be spent elsewhere.

“After spending a year in office, myself along with the other House freshmen have seen how these budget gimmicks are institutionalized,” Roby said Wednesday in an interview with the Dothan Eagle. “They don’t belong to any one party. This bill is one step in the right direction. It helps ensure that we are not spending money we don’t have and that we are not accounting for savings that are not really savings.”

According to Sessions and Roby, proposed accounting changes in the Honest Budget Act include:
  • Making it more difficult to pass spending bills before a budget is adopted.
  • Tightening the process for adding an “emergency” designation to spending measures.
  • Requiring transfers from the General Fund to bail out the Highway Trust Fund to be considered “new spending.” According to Sessions, these transfers have been considered “budget neutral.”
  • Barring Congress from using unspent program funds for other programs instead of using the unspent money as savings.
  • Adding to President Barack Obama’s federal worker pay freeze by eliminating within-grade STEP increases for the 2012 year, which currently are not eliminated.
The Honest Budget Act is the third bill Roby has sponsored in her first term. The first bill would have ended government funding for Planned Parenthood. It passed the House last year but has not passed the Senate. The second would modify the Conservation Reserve Program. It is still pending.

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