Aug. 4, 2006 – Government watchdogs claimed partial victory last week when the House of Representatives did not vote on two proposals to create a panel of unelected decision makers with influence over the federal budget.
As previously reported by The NewStandard, Congress was considering bills that would require a plethora of government-funded programs to prove their worth in front of a commission appointed by the White House. The â€œsunset commission,â€� as the panel was dubbed, would decide which programs deserve funding and would submit its recommendations to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote. Programs that didnâ€™t make the grade would expire.
The idea has garnered little media attention, but has attracted the ire of groups ranging from the American Federation of Teachers and the American Lung Association to the United Steel Workers and the League of Conservation Voters. More than 300 organizations have signed a letter to lawmakers asking them to vote against the proposals.
The House of Representatives was scheduled to consider the slightly differing bills â€“ the Government Efficiency Act of 2006 and the Abolishment of Obsolete Agencies and Federal Sunset Act of 2005 â€“ last week.
The public-interest group OMB Watch, one of the organizations leading the charge against the sunset commission bills, attributed the delayed vote to pressure from â€œvocal oppositionâ€� to the legislation.