Congress should have to re-authorize every federal program – including Medicare and Social Security – on a regular basis, according to Phil Gramm.
Gramm, who served as a Republican representative and senator from Texas, testified today during the second of two days of hearings on the “broken budget process” organized by the House Budget Committee.
“One of the best ideas ever on the budget came from former President Jimmy Carter,” said Gramm, a co-author of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. “That
was zero-based budgeting.”
Using zero-based budgeting would require Congress to re-authorize all discretionary spending on a regular basis.
Any new president ought to submit re-authorizations of all discretionary programs at the beginning of the second year of that president’s administration, Gramm said.
“This would mean that every program would be reviewed and reauthorized or it would sunset and not be eligible for funding,” Gramm said. “There should be no exceptions to this rule.”
“Unearned entitlement programs” — entitlement programs not based at least in part on beneficiary contributions — should sunset every 10 years starting in 2014, Gramm said.