October 27, 2009
Interior Conference Report Burdened with Huge Spending Increases and Extraneous Last Minute Add-Ons
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Over the objections of House Republicans, Democrat members of a joint House and Senate conference committee today approved the fiscal year 2010 Interior Appropriations conference report. The legislation contains $32.2 billion in funding, which is a $4.7 billion or 17% increase over last year’s levels.
House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis objected to the massive spending increases in the conference report.
“Once again Congress is spending money hand over fist without regard for the taxpayer or for the future of our nation’s finances. At a time when our country is facing a $1.4 trillion deficit this year alone, providing a massive 17% increase in these interior and environment programs is unacceptable. We simply cannot solve all of the nation’s challenges - and we put ourselves in greater financial peril - by continuing to throw billions out the door with little result,” Lewis said.
“And, this huge increase is being approved in spite of the fact that Congress must soon consider legislation to increase our national debt limit – this time to over $13 trillion,” Lewis added.
In addition, Democrat leaders today also attached a “Continuing Resolution” (CR) to the Interior conference report – a separate piece of legislation would allow the government to continue to operate until December 20. A CR is needed to temporary extend funding for government operations, due to the fact that the House and Senate have yet to complete 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 previously debated or approved by the House or Senate.
“I agree we need a CR - shutting down the government because the Democrat leaders in Congress have yet to allow Appropriations work to be completed is not an option. However, a CR should not be the automatic catch-all for controversial and costly provisions simply because it’s an expedient way to get things done. We need a clean, stand-alone CR that allows important government programs to continue, and in the meantime, the Democrat leaders need to stop the unnecessary delays and pass fiscally responsible Appropriations bills in a timely way,” Lewis said.