Statement on the United States Supreme Court Decision on the Constitutionality of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985

July 7, 1986

The Supreme Court's decision today brings the focus of compliance with the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction targets back to where it belongs: on the Congress. In holding that the Comptroller General's role in the act's sequester process was unconstitutional, the Court has cleared the way for Congress itself to make the decisions necessary to achieve the deficit reduction targets for FY 1986 and FY 1987 and a balanced budget in FY 1991.

I believe the deficit targets of Gramm-Rudman-Hollings were and are a promise to the American people by their government -- a promise made only months ago -- to bring down the budget deficit over a period of years, starting with FY 1986. After the Supreme Court's decision today, I urge Congress to act promptly in order to make good on that pledge. Congress may do this for FY 1986 by acting immediately to ratify the February sequestrations of $11.7 billion. Since those cuts have already been absorbed, there is no reason for delay. For FY 1987 Congress must enact spending legislation that meets the $144 billion deficit target required by Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, without sacrificing our national defense or raising taxes.

The elimination of the Comptroller General's role in the sequester process should change little, except that now Congress must make the difficult choices. We were both elected by the American people to make these choices, and I call upon Congress to discharge its responsibilities and redeem its pledge.

Note: Larry M. Speakes, Principal Deputy Press Secretary to the President, read the statement to reporters at 1:20 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.