Labor, Health, and Human Services Appropriations Bill Passes Subcommittee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies today passed its annual legislation to fund the federal agencies and programs within its jurisdiction for the next fiscal year. The legislation contains a total of $730.5 billion, including $163.4 billion in discretionary spending which is $11.15 billion or 7% over last year’s level.
This large spending increase is in addition to the approximately $126 billion in spending provided for these programs in the recently enacted “stimulus” bill. Since 2007, when emergency and “stimulus” spending is included, funding under the Labor/HHS bill has increased a whopping 93%.
The budget allocations approved by House Democrats this year for non-defense domestic and international spending - including the allocation for this bill – average a 12% increase over last year. When all appropriations bills from FY 2007 to FY 2009 are combined, overall Appropriations spending has increased 41% in just two years, and non-defense related spending has increased 85%.
House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis objected to these large increases in federal spending.
“Already this year, Democrat proposals have put our country into more that a trillion dollars worth of debt – not including interest. Our economy is struggling through the worst recession in decades, unemployment is at 9.5%, and last month alone we lost an additional 450,000 jobs. There is no justifiable reason for an $11 billion increase in the Labor/HHS bill while American families are struggling to pay their mortgages and put food on the table,” House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis said.
“There are some good programs in this bill that deserve to be funded, but providing a 7% over increase while making little or no tough decisions to prioritize spending is not a sustainable or responsible way to budget,” Lewis continued.
In addition, the Fiscal Year 2010 Labor/HHS bill contains several policy riders, including long-established restrictions on federal funds being used for abortions and protections for health care workers. However, policy provisions prohibiting federal funding for needle exchange programs and funding for abstinence education programs carried in the bill in previous years have been removed.