June 19, 2008
Reckless spending fills Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill
WASHIGNTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) today approved its Fiscal Year 2009 spending legislation. The bill contains a total of more than $153 billion in discretionary funding, which is nearly $7.8 billion over the President’s request and more than $8.2 billion more than last year.
“It is becoming apparent in this bill, and other Appropriations bills being considered this year, that there is a trend of overspending where virtually every program that has the support of some member of Congress is being funded.” House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis said. “American tax-payers cannot afford this kind of generosity. If the bill makes everyone in Congress happy, than we are probably doing something wrong.”
The LHHS appropriations legislation contains large funding levels in many areas, including a massive $5 billion for training and employment programs that have questionable track-records.
“American taxpayers will gain little, if anything, from these government give-aways. This kind of reckless spending is something none of us should accept – especially in this time of economic downturn,” Lewis said. “At some point in the Appropriations process, we need to make tough funding decisions – not just continue to spend more taxpayer money.”
While this bill contains large spending levels for labor programs, other important programs are greatly under-funded – including pandemic flu preparedness. The bill contains $370 million for the program, which is $137 million below the President’s request. Flu preparedness was also under-funded in fiscal year 2008 when $870 million was requested but not provided.
“Many of the programs contained in this bill are indeed worthy of our support – the best prepare us for challenges to come, and bring much needed relief to the most vulnerable among us,” Lewis said. “ However, as we move forward with regular and traditional appropriations process on this bill – including an open rule on the House floor – we must strive for a thriftier approach,” he continued.
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