Congressional Reaction to Proposed Spending Changes

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Publication date: 
11 February 2011

FYI  #13 outlined a series of budgetary changes that the House Appropriations  Committee had proposed to reduce FY 2011 funding by $74 billion from the amount  requested by the Administration.  Since  that plan   was announced, fiscally-conservative Republicans have demanded further cuts in  the FY 2011 budget.  In response, House  Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) released the below statement  yesterday about the Continuing Resolution (CR) that is scheduled to be brought  to the House floor next week.  This bill  will continue funding after a stop gap measure expires on March 4.

“My  Committee has been working diligently to go line-by-line in every agency budget  to find and cut unnecessary spending to reduce our deficit and help our economy  thrive.        “After  meeting with my subcommittee Chairs, we have determined that the CR can and  will reach a total of $100 billion in cuts compared to the President’s request  immediately -- fully meeting the goal outlined in the Republican ‘Pledge to  America’ in one fell swoop. Our intent is to make deep but manageable cuts in  nearly every area of government, leaving no stone unturned and allowing no  agency or program to be held sacred. I have instructed my committee to include  these deeper cuts, and we are continuing to work to complete this critical legislation.”

The  committee announced that these further cuts will be made available when the  bill is introduced.  Fiscal Year 2011  began on October 1, 2010, almost five months ago.  All reductions in FY 2011 budgets will have  to be made in the remaining months of this fiscal year, dramatically increasing  the impacts the cuts will have on government-supported operations, facilities,  and programs.

A  number of Democratic House Members responded to the proposed budget cuts.  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) cited  the impacts that the proposed legislation would have on innovation in a  statement that she released:

“Democrats  are committed to fiscal discipline, starting with an aggressive attack on  waste, fraud, and abuse in our federal budget, and we will work with  Republicans to meet our goals.  But we  will not do so at the expense of good jobs, a strong middle class, and a  growing economy.  The Republican plan  will cost jobs, undercut American innovation and clean energy, jeopardize our  safety by taking cops off the street, and threaten investments in rebuilding  America -- at a time when our economy can least afford it.”

Democratic  Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) also cited the impacts that the legislation would have on  research:

“While  we wait to see Republicans’ full proposal, what we’ve seen so far shows that  they have not made the careful decisions necessary to ensure that while we cut  spending, we do not cut investments in our economic future. Democrats believe  we must reduce the deficit and cut spending, but not at the expense of the  investments that will pay off tomorrow with an educated workforce, cutting edge  research that keeps our economy the world’s leader, and a strong  infrastructure.”

Rep.  Norm Dicks (D-WA), the Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee,  also discussed research in a statement he issued:

“Are  we still putting job-growth as our number one priority? Are we still going to  out-educate, out-innovate and out-build our competitors internationally?  We have expressed our strong commitment to  tackling our unsustainable national debt and we will work with our Republican  colleagues to tackle waste, fraud and abuse across the federal budget. However,  we must not embrace a 1-dimensional plan that makes for a good press release at  the expense of vital investments in the long-term health of the nation.”

Also  commenting on the proposed legislation was the Ranking Member on the House  Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX):

“In this  difficult economic environment, all of us - Members of Congress and our  constituents alike - must think carefully about priorities.  The cuts  being proposed in this CR - such as the nearly one-third cut to energy R&D  and cuts that appear to cripple NIST’s ability to help U.S. manufacturers compete  better in the global economy - do almost nothing to balance our budget. In  fact, the cuts seriously undermine our ability to continue to innovate, grow  our economy, and create new jobs both now and far into the future.   Unfortunately, the impacts of these cuts are not limited to turning the lights  off on groundbreaking research projects, shuttering world-class research  facilities, and stopping emerging industries in their tracks.  We also  risk losing many of our best and brightest scientists and innovators from the  science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pipeline for good.”

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