The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act

Of all Rudman’s efforts in the Senate,  deficit reduction this to him was the most important  and the most frustrating.   Three Senators  Warren Rudman, Republican from New Hampshire,  Phil Gramm Republican of Texas, and Earnest Hollings, Democrat from South Carolina sponsored a bill which now went to the Oval office.  Getting this bill through Congress was very difficult.  Rudman got much more support from Democrats than from his own party.

Now on January of 1985 Gramm and Rudman were driving on a cold day to the White House.  Hollings was a sincere deficit  hawk but had other commitments.  The bitter cold and wind turned out be a premonition of this meeting.  On the drive Warren Rudman  saw the homeless  and felt personally responsible.   How much of  this human suffering stemmed  from his approval of Reagenomics four years earlier.

On entering the room, Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger told Rudman that his bill would bring joy to to the leadership in the Soviet Union.   Then he  used that  old and silly routine about dancing in streets of  Moscow  from Gramm Rudman and Hollings.  Quickly,   Rudman  replied that the real joy to the Communists or any nation that wishes us  ill  is America falling into a debt abyss wish results in a reduced standard  of living for every one. That aside Gramm-Rudman Hollings by itself never cut a cut a dime from anyone.  It merely  stated that  there should be gradual sequestration of tax increases  and spending cuts  hopefully leading to a balanced budget  some time in the  future; and of course increasing taxes to pay for these programs threatens  their existence.

Any now it was time for Ronald Reagen to enter the room.  He did to a range of applause from mild to hysterical.   Reagen in his charming manner talked about his days in Hollywood.   Then came more small talk and the President went on with his patriotic platitudes, the need for economy in government, and our need to be strong in today’s world.  Reagen said that  Phil’s and Warren’s efforts  will help  get the deficit under control.  After this statement, he signed the Deficit Reduction Bill, Gramm-Rudman- Hollings.

The President did not sign the bill in the middle of the night but he might as well have.  These were numerous tests to the bill in the days ahead.  It was obvious that the President hoped  the courts would strike the new law down.  The President was only concerned about was getting more tax cuts and defense spending. through Congress.

Warren left the White House very discouraged after all the hard work..  Good old Phil Gramm was all smiles and told  Rudman what  wonderful man the President was.  It did not seem to bother Gramm that the President only casually mention their bill.  Gramm told Rudman  that you do not go the White House for a root canal.   Maybe they should have.

Phil Gramm  was about as serious as the President went it came to deficit reduction. Today we all paying the price.  Rudman should have chosen somebody else as co-sponsor.


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