Lewis: Now is Not the Time for Massive Agriculture Spending Increases
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House today will consider the Fiscal Year 2010 Agriculture Appropriations conference report. The legislation contains a total of $121.1 billion in both mandatory and discretionary spending – a 12% increase over last year. Discretionary spending in the bill totals $23.3 billion – which is approximately 14% or $2.8 billion over last year’s level. When all agriculture appropriations spending is combined – including emergency supplemental and “stimulus” funds – spending for these agencies and programs will have increased 125% over the last two fiscal years.
“A nearly 14% increase in spending in agriculture and other related programs is completely out of touch with economic reality. Our country is working to scrape its way out of a debilitating recession, and now is not the time to divert our precious resources to massive spending that is over and above what is needed and reasonable,” House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis said.
In addition to the huge overall funding increase within the legislation, Lewis also expressed his objection to 14 pages of “airdropped” language included in the conference report that was never debated or passed on the House or Senate floors and was not formally requested by the Administration. The airdropped provisions total $150 million in spending and include several new and unauthorized pilot programs within the USDA, as well as authorization extensions of current nutrition programs that are outside the jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee.
“As if a 14% increase in spending isn’t bad enough, the Democrat majority has tacked on 14 pages of new legislation to this conference report that has never before seen the light of day. And, this is all in spite the Obama Administration’s and the Democrat majority’s promises of eliminating or scaling back unnecessary government programs,” Lewis said.
“With the nation’s unemployment close to 10%, the American people expect Congress to focus on our economy, and not continue to drain our financial resources through last-minute program creations,” he continued.