June 20, 2012
Thank you all for being here today. After many long hours of debate yesterday, I appreciate your timeliness and readiness coming into today's meeting.
Today, we are marking up our tenth bill of the fiscal year 2013 season, the Financial Services and General Government bill. This bill is the latest in our series of bills that work to help balance our budgets and reduce federal discretionary spending to responsible, sustainable levels. Already, since January 2011, the Appropriations Committee has led the way to cut discretionary spending by more than $95 billion, and we’ve continued this trend in the bills we've considered so far this year.
The Financial Services Appropriations legislation before you today provides $21.15 billion in funding for the agencies in its jurisdiction – trimming $376 million from last year's level and $2 billion from the President's request. Adjusted for inflation, the bill is virtually equal to the fiscal year 2008 level – a remarkable achievement.
We're able to do good things with the funding in this bill, including supporting antiterrorism efforts and financial intelligence activities, and fighting international crime and narcotics trafficking. We prioritized American business and job creation, boosting resources for American entrepreneurs and small businesses through the Small Business Administration, which gets a $240 million increase. Limited increases were made to agencies like the SEC, as well, and many programs, like the Consumer Product Safety Commission and IRS, were held at the same funding level as last year. We also shepherded funding for scholarships for DC students to attend private schools through the SOAR program.
But this bill also cuts spending for several programs and agencies that simply do not need continued high levels of funding, or that have demonstrated poor judgment and excessive, irresponsible spending habits. Out of respect for taxpayers and our already in-short-supply treasury, this bill addresses these issues.
This bill directs funding where it will do our citizens the most good, and aims to eliminate gross mismanagement of public funds, like the GSA boondoggle in Las Vegas. To this end, we have implemented more stringent oversight and stronger restrictions on spending, and have eliminated or cut funding for unproven, unnecessary, or ineffective programs.
We have not provided funding for any of the requested increases to implement ObamaCare, and prohibited the transfer of funds between HHS and the IRS to do the same. Furthermore, we've increased oversight and transparency to ensure agencies are accountable to the public and to Congress, and spend their resources in a responsible manner. This includes making the currently unaccountable Consumer Financial Protection Bureau part of the congressional appropriations process staring in fiscal year 2014.
I'd like to take this time to thank Chairwoman Emerson, Ranking Member Serrano, and the entire Subcommittee for their careful, diligent work on this bill. Your Subcommittee is truly a model of respect and cordiality between parties. We also thank the smart, hard-working staff who helped bring this bill to the committee today.
This bill will help America continue on the path to recovery and fiscal solvency by suppressing job-killing government overreach and overspending, and supporting our economic drivers and job creators. I support this bill, and urge this Committee to do the same by voting ‘aye’.