Appropriations Republicans Request “Clean” War Supplemental, Open Process for Considering Spending Bills, and Reductions Federal Spending

Apr 12, 2011
Press Release

Letter From Appropriations Republicans Requests “Clean” War Supplemental, Open Process for Considering Spending Bills, and Reductions Federal Spending
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee today sent a letter to Committee Chairman David Obey requesting that he immediately schedule an open committee mark-up on a pending supplemental spending bill to fund war costs and resources for U.S. troops. The letter requests that the emergency supplemental be kept “clean” – or free of non-emergency spending and other extraneous add-ons.
In addition, Committee Republicans offered a pledge to work together with Democrats to complete work on the twelve Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations bills if the Democrat Majority will allow a regular process for consideration of the legislation, and if they would commit to reducing federal spending. Over the last three years, the Democrat Majority has largely circumvented the traditional Appropriations process – including public mark-ups and the open opportunity for amendments to the legislation on the House Floor – which has led to sky-rocketing discretionary spending increases.
The text of the letter from Committee Republicans to Chairman Obey follows:
April 26, 2010
Honorable David R. Obey
Committee on Appropriations
Dear Chairman Obey:
As members of the Appropriations Committee we have grown increasingly concerned by the abdication of our Committee’s traditional responsibilities as it relates to debating and amending both emergency and regular order spending bills. 
We are therefore writing today to respectfully request that you expeditiously schedule a full Appropriations Committee mark-up of a clean emergency supplemental funding bill and allow this critical legislation to be considered through the traditional regular order process on the House floor.  Additionally, we ask that you publicly commit to marking up in Committee and bringing to the House floor under a traditional open rule process each of the 12 Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations bills.  The reinstatement of this longstanding requirement will allow each and every Member of the House the opportunity to debate and amend these measures, and will restore their voices to the legislative process.
Our country is facing extraordinary challenges that require us to rise above partisan squabbling and meet our budget realities directly and responsibly.  The United States and her allies remain engaged in the Global War on Terror even as we face enormous challenges close to home – including double-digit unemployment and a still-recovering national economy.  We must meet our obligations but we must also begin to make tough decisions on spending.  With an unprecedented annual deficit of $1.3 trillion and over $12 trillion in national debt, there is no question that Uncle Sam needs a diet. 
The enormity of these challenges were brought home recently by Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, who testified before the Joint Economic Committee and urged Congress and the President to develop a plan to address escalating deficits.  "Addressing the country's fiscal problems will require difficult choices, but postponing them will only make them more difficult," he warned.
The fact is that government spending has increased by $5,000 per household since 2008.  This year alone, Washington will spend $31,406 for every household in America – the highest level in American history.  Of this amount, $13,130 will go towards the staggering budget deficit, which along with all prior government debt, is being heaped on future generations. 
We simply cannot afford to continue the pattern of recklessly spending taxpayer dollars on the excessive expansion of government.  We can disagree on the merits of the $1,000,000,000,000 stimulus package, the $700,000,000,000 in TARP funds, or the hundreds of billions in bailouts of failed financial institutions, but the truth is that this spending increased the base budgets for nearly every government agency by huge and unsustainable margins.  This only raises expectations for more federal spending and the continued growth of government, and reinforces the widely-held notion that Washington is making a concerted effort to fully integrate big government – from the taxes we pay to the health care we receive – into the daily lives of all Americans. 
Given these realities, it’s absolutely critical that Republicans and Democrats work together and engage in a thorough, comprehensive process to determine the best and most efficient way to adequately fund our critical needs while reining in spending wherever possible.  We ask that you work together with us to return to regular order, starting with the upcoming emergency supplemental and continuing throughout the FY 2011 Appropriations process. 
We stand ready and willing to work together with you and our majority colleagues towards this goal, and look forward to a renewed focus on the essential and traditional responsibilities of the Appropriations Committee.  We look forward to your response to this reasonable request.
Jerry Lewis
C.W. Bill Young
Harold 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