Close vote a bold step toward limited government–

WASHINGTON — Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 217-215 to approve HR 4241, the “Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.” Passing without any Democrat votes, this bill would trim approximately $50 billion in savings over five years from mandatory entitlement spending.

Strikingly absent from the “yea” column were many moderate Democrat and Republican members of Congress who have taken on deficit reduction as their clarion cry. One might conclude from their voting patterns against cutting spending and for raising taxes that if they are for deficit reduction, it is by raising taxes and not by reducing the size of government.

“The House and the Senate ought to move to a conference committee as quickly as possible to get their differences resolved,” said ATR President Grover Norquist. “The sooner this gets to the President’s desk, the sooner taxpayers can know that the size of government has begun to be put under control.”

HR 4241’s passage marks a modest but important step in reining in the size of government. It trims the growth in entitlement spending by less than 1% over the next five years. However, it is the first spending reconciliation bill that the Congress will pass in nearly a decade, and should mark a turning point in restraining the growth of government spending across the board.

“Now that the House has addressed spending restraint, it needs to move on to the tax reconciliation bill before going home for the year,” continued Norquist. “The Senate has passed its version of the tax bill, but without the vital components of extending the capital gains, dividend, and small business expensing provisions through 2010. The House must pass a bill that does so this year so that capital markets and taxpayers can plan ahead for the future with confidence that the rug won’t be pulled out from under them.”