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Minnick spending-cut bill gets picked as model for new administration proposal

Legislation proposed by freshman Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick to make it easier for the president to push Congress to slice specific items out of big spending bills has been latched onto by the Obama Administration, which last week introduced its own bill modeled after Minnick’s. Minnick's chief of staff, Kate Haas, said prospects for the bill’s passage are good. "I think you’ll find bipartisan support in Congress for reduced spending and restoring fiscal discipline," she said. "It’s something that is near and dear to Walt, but near and dear to others also."

Both bills - Minnick’s was called the "Budget Enforcement Legislative Tool Act of 2010," or the BELT Act, while the Obama Administration’s is the "Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act of 2010" - would let the president pick out a list of items from a bill and send it back to Congress for a fast-track, up-or-down vote. It's a step toward a line-item veto, but one that's been declared constitutional by the House legislative counsel; an actual line-item veto that Congress passed in 1996 was overturned as unconstitutional two years later. You can read my full story here at

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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