Appropriations Republicans Repeat Demand for Action on FY11 Bills - Lack of Progress Shows Democrats "Total Dysfunction" and "Lack of Leadership"

Apr 12, 2011
Press Release

Appropriations Republicans Repeat Demand For Action on FY 2011 Bills
Ranking Member Lewis Says Lack of Progress on the War Supplemental and All 12 Appropriations Bills Shows “Total Dysfunction” and “Lack of True Leadership” Within the Democrat Majority
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Republicans today sent a letter to Chairman David Obey and Speaker Pelosi repeating their demand for action on the emergency war and disaster relief supplemental and the 12 Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations bills. The letter reiterates the offer Republicans made two months ago to work with Democrats to complete these bills as long as the majority returned to an open and regular process and if they made real efforts to rein in spending.  
The Republicans wrote that given the fact that the deficit will top $1.4 trillion this year and the government’s total debt has already passed $13 trillion, it is critical that Congress begin immediately to reduce spending. The Republicans wrote that completing these bills in a fiscally responsible way would be a step towards reducing the kind of sky-rocketing spending that is undermining the nation’s economic prosperity and hurting the ability of Americans to find jobs.
“We have 12 Appropriations bills and an emergency supplemental that has yet to see the light of day in our committee. These bills aren’t coming as a surprise – they are the basic grindstone work that Congress must complete every year to keep the government operating. To simply punt this responsibility to after the election is a gross abdication of the most basic duty of Congress, and a symbol of the total dysfunction and lack of true leadership within the Democrat majority,” Appropriations Ranking Member Jerry Lewis.
“The American people didn’t send us here to hunker down and do nothing for six months before every election.  Republicans have offered our help, and I hope that Democrat leaders will put the election year politics aside and let us get our work done,” Lewis continued.
The text of the letter to Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Obey follows:
June 10, 2010
The Honorable David Obey
House Committee on Appropriations
H-218 U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC  20515
Dear Chairman Obey:
In an attempt to jump-start this year’s languishing appropriations process, we are writing again to express our willingness to work with you to expeditiously mark up the fiscal year (FY) 10 emergency supplemental funding bill as well as our subcommittee spending bills for FY 11, which is now less than four months away.  Our work on these critical measures is long overdue and it is incumbent upon our Committee to get its work done. 
On April 26th, Appropriations Republicans wrote you respectfully requesting that you schedule a full Committee mark-up of a clean emergency supplemental troop funding bill and allow this critical legislation to be considered through the traditional regular order process on the House floor.  Instead the full Committee markup of the emergency supplemental that was scheduled for May 27th was postponed at the last minute without explanation. 
We have since learned that your staff has been instructed to begin negotiating with the Senate majority staff on a supplemental spending package using the House Committee print and the Senate-passed supplemental to guide the negotiating process.  To say the least, it is highly unusual to begin Democrat-only negotiations with the Senate using a House bill that not only was never considered by the full House, it was not even considered by the Appropriations Committee.
Additionally, in the April letter we asked for traditional mark-ups and an open rule process for each of the FY 11 appropriations bills.  Almost seven weeks have now passed since our letter was sent, and we are no further along in marking up the FY 11 spending bills than we were 45 days ago.  We are left to conclude by your silence and the lack of a Committee markup schedule that you have no intention of moving any appropriations bills this year. 
The failure of the House majority thus far to begin the FY 11 Appropriations bills and the failure to produce even a basic budget blueprint portends another failed process this year and brings into sharp focus legitimate questions about the House majority’s ability to govern.  Short of immediate action, this year will mark the first time in more than 15 years that the House Appropriations Committee has failed to move any of its regular bills out of full Committee by the end of June.  By contrast, under Republican stewardship in 2005 and 2006, the House Appropriations Committee moved all but one of the spending bills through the full Committee and off the House floor—under an open rule process—by the end of June each year.  
This failure to act comes at a time when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is projecting a deficit in 2010 of $1.4 trillion and when the government’s total debt has already risen past $13 trillion, the result of the unprecedented and unrestrained spending over the last three years. This current fiscal path will lead to even larger deficits in the future and are a recipe for fiscal disaster.  For example, according to CBO’s estimate of the President’s Budget, deficits in 2020 will still be about $1 trillion despite a recovered economy and federal tax revenues above their historical level; furthermore the government would be spending more just on interest on the debt than it would on all discretionary spending combined.  Such record levels of debt, deficits and spending would undermine our Nation’s economic prosperity, create even greater instability in domestic and global financial markets, and threaten current and future generations. 
These troubling facts underscore the critical need for the House Appropriations Committee to lead.   After 18 months in office, the President and his Administration have failed to take any concrete steps toward real, meaningful deficit reduction.  The establishment of a presidential commission to address spending forestalls any recommendations or decisions until after the November elections.  And, the planning guidance issued to federal agencies by OMB Director, Peter Orszag, to reduce next year’s proposed spending by five percent next year is no substitute for making tough spending decisions now. 
Mr. Chairman, we urge you to join us in promptly developing a clean emergency supplemental spending bill and producing fiscal year 2011 bills that not only demonstrate a willingness to make tough spending decisions, but embrace a commitment to fiscal discipline the American people are now demanding. 
Jerry Lewis
C.W. Bill Young
Hal Rogers
Frank R. Wolf
Jack Kingston
Rodney P Frelinghuysen
Todd Tiahrt
Zach Wamp
Tom Latham
Robert B. Aderholt
Jo Ann Emerson
Kay Granger
Michael K. Simpson
John Abney Culberson
Mark Steven Kirk
Ander Crenshaw
Dennis R. Rehberg
John R. Carter
Rodney Alexander
Ken Calvert
Jo Bonner
Steven C. LaTourette
Tom Cole

112th Congress