Lewis to Oppose Spending-Heavy Interior Conference Report
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House today will consider the fiscal year 2010 Interior Appropriations conference report to fund the various agencies and programs within the Department of the Interior and other related environmental programs. The legislation contains huge increases in spending over last year, totaling $32.2 billion in funding, which is a $4.7 billion or a 17% increase.
House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis will oppose the legislation due to this massive and unsustainable level of spending.
“The 17% increase in this agreement is irresponsible, especially in light of the fact that Congress must soon consider legislation to increase our national debt limit – this time to over $13 trillion. It is no wonder that Americans across the country are losing confidence in this Congress… while they have to tighten their belts at home, they see Washington spending their money time and time again without regard for results or any semblance of restraint,” Lewis said.
“There are many programs in this legislation that I support, but this continual outpouring of taxpayer dollars will do little to solve the nation’s environmental challenges. Spending increases of this size and speed – a 66% increase for ‘climate change’ programs, a 166% increase for a ‘greenhouse gas registry,’ a 692% increase for ‘Great Lakes Restoration’ – will invite waste and is simply inappropriate during a national recession,” Lewis said.
Lewis also noted that while spending on the Great Lakes is increasing exponentially in this agreement, a provision in the legislation – added at the last minute by Appropriations Chairman David Obey – exempts certain steamships on the Great Lakes from abiding by new EPA pollution emissions standards.
In addition, Democrat leaders also attached a “Continuing Resolution” (CR) to the Interior conference report – a separate piece of legislation that would allow the government to continue operations until December 18th. A CR is needed to temporarily extend funding for government operations due to the fact that the House and Senate have yet to complete all of the annual Appropriations bills that fund the Federal government for the 2010 fiscal year. However, the CR attached by the Democrat leaders also includes controversial and costly last minute provisions - including increased funding for several housing programs - that have not been previously debated or approved by the House or Senate.