July 25, 2008
Lewis and Cochran Criticize "Historic Failure" to Pass Appropriations Bills
Democrat Stalling Tactics Put Vital Programs at Risk
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Appropriations Ranking Republican Senator Thad Cochran and House Appropriations Ranking Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis today joined to criticize the Democrat majority’s historic failure to move annual appropriations bills that fund the federal government.
Not once since before the 1950s has Congress failed to pass a single appropriations bill by the August recess. Even with outstanding veto threats in 2000 and 1992 – final years of the Clinton and Bush Administrations, respectively – the House and Senate still managed to pass the majority of their appropriations bills and have them signed into law.
“This kind of epic failure by Congress is a once in a lifetime event. Senator Cochran and I agree that this is not only an irresponsible way to run government, but will have a catastrophic effect on federal programs and the people they serve across the country," Lewis said
“Congress has the responsibility to allocate funds to the Federal Government each year,” said Sen. Cochran. “It is regrettable that the Democrats are preventing us from completing business on this fundamental responsibility because they are fearful of taking votes that will help lead to lower gasoline prices.”
The Democrat’s failure to pass these funding bills will force critical programs and projects - such as new housing assistance for returning veterans, 2000 new border security agents, and new grant funding for local police and fire departments - to go unfunded this year. What will happen to these programs in the future remains ambiguous.
Moreover, halting the Appropriations process means that critical provisions to lower gas prices – such as lifting the moratorium on energy exploration in the outer continental shelf or removing language that restricts domestic oil shale development – will not receive an up or down vote, nor even be considered by either Committee.
"Despite the fact that energy prices are the most important issue to the American people today, the majority proposes to scrap our appropriations work altogether and pass a long term continuing resolution that freezes alternative energy programs at current levels and extends provisions of appropriations law that restrict domestic energy development both offshore and onshore, all without debate or amendment. What a disservice to the American people,” Senator Cochran said.
“American families don’t have the option of putting off their bills until next year, so why should Congress? Once again, the Democrat majority has put politics above people, and it has resulted in one of the largest legislative failures in a century.” Lewis said.
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