Since his inauguration in August, 1974, President Ford and the American people have together had to face the many diifculties [difficulties] created by a severe economic crisis, exploitation of our dependence on foreign energy sources, and the consequences of excessive Federal spending and regulation of the private sector. On 55 occasions, the President has said "no" to, or returned to the Congress without his signature, bills which the Democrat-controlled Congress has passed which would have exacerbated or failed to address these problems--bills which would have:
The President said earlier this year, "If we are to do what must be done, we must stop doing what need not be done." In carrying out his responsibilities, President Ford has used his veto power to save the taxpayer over $9.2 billion. The Democrat Congress has overridden only eleven of the President's 56 vetoes.
This judicious use of his veto power has been instrumental in reducing the rate of growth in government spending by half, gaining the average American household more than $150 a year.
While some people have opposed his difficult decisions, a majority of Americans support the need to restrain excessive Government expenditures. In a Harris Survey taken earlier this year, 72% of the American citizens polled felt that they did not get full value out of their tax dollars.
The President has not merely opposed these legislative mistakes. In every instance, President Ford proposed better, more workable and responsive alternatives that his many years of leiglsative [legislative] experience allowed him and his advisors to devise. Many of the President's programs have been passed, while others still await Congressional action.
The "Christmas tax cut" bill provides a useful example of this positive use of the veto. In October, President Ford proposed cutting the upcoming Federal budget by $28 billion coupling this with a tax cut of the same amount. He repeatedly asserted that he would veto any tax cut which failed to include a commitment to dollar-for-dollar budget cuts.
Apparently, the Congress didn't believe him, because on December 17, he received a tax cut bill with extended, for only six months, the 1975 tax cuts -- and failed to include any provision for a reduction in federal spending.
As promised, President Ford vetoed this bill, and the Democratic-controlled Congress found itself unable to override his veto. The President and the Congress then worked out a compromise in which the Congress accepted his principle, linking future tax cuts to budgetary restraint. Congress agreed to balance future tax cuts with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts.
Other examples of the costly, inefficient, and poor legislation passed by the Democrat Congress and stopped by President Ford include:
-- cost some 36,000 jobs.
-- caused consumers to pay increased prices for electricity.
-- decreased coal production potentially by as much as 162 million tons, and increased our dependence on foreign oil by 640,000 barrels of oil.
-- cost the American taxpayer an additional $1 billion and increased the Federal deficit by the same amount.
-- duplicated powers already on the books.
-- increased domestic petroleum consumption and increased our reliance on foreign oil by 350,000 per day by 1977.
-- cut domestic production of oil.
Recently, President Ford said "no" to a costly, $6.1 billion big-spending public works bill. It was a bill that would have cost every American taxpayer an average of $50. The President said it was an election-year "hoax." His veto was upheld in the Senate because many members of that body saw that he was right.
In each case, the President has proposed a more workable alternative. President Ford has consistently used his veto power wisely, with discretion, in order to save the taxpayer billions of dollars and to constructively solve the difficult problems this country faces.
Exemption of Members of Congress From Certain Local Income Taxes
The 54th Presidential veto was exercised to prevent the Congress from creating still another "narrow and special class of persons"--the Congress itself. This bill would have provided that a Member of Congress need not pay income tax levied by a state or municipality in which the Member lives for the purpose of attending Congress. Upon returning the bill without his approval, the President commented:
As the end of this session of Congress approaches, the American people would be better served if Congress would direct its attention to the important laws that should be passed this year -- to cut taxes and spending; to expand catastrophic health care programs; to limit court ordered bussing; to attack crime and drugs; and to address many other important matters of concern to the American people--rather than enacting legislation such as S. 2447.
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