Lewis Praises President Obama for Supporting a Transparent, Open and Regular Appropriations Process

Apr 12, 2011
Press Release

Lewis Praises President Obama for Supporting a Transparent, Open and Regular Appropriations Process

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a press conference yesterday regarding the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations legislation, President Obama called on Congress to return to a regular process for considering Appropriations bills. House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis - who has frequently called for a return to a regular and orderly Appropriations process where each spending bill is available for inspection by the public, is subject to hearings and mark-ups in committee, is open to amendments, and is considered individually on the House floor and in conference with the Senate – praised the President for his support.

“Massive spending bills like the Omnibus are a result of a broken process. It is high time that Congress recognize that decisions regarding taxpayer dollars should be made in an open, methodical, and thoughtful way… without legislative schemes designed to keep the American public in the dark,” Lewis said. “The President deserves praise for realizing this problem, and I hope his colleagues in Congress heed his call.”

Both the recently enacted “stimulus” bill and the FY 2009 Omnibus were unveiled by the Democrat leadership less than two days before they were voted on – eliminating the opportunity for Members of Congress or the public to study the legislation in advance.  Through loopholes in the rules of the House, these bills were rushed through Congress without the benefit of public hearings or mark-ups, and without the opportunity for Members of Congress to significantly alter the legislation through amendments under the traditional open rule for Appropriations bills on the House floor.

In his comments yesterday, President Obama said, “I expect future spending bills to be debated and voted on in an orderly way, and sent to my desk without delay or obstruction, so that we don’t face another massive, last-minute omnibus bill like this again.”

“President Obama was right to recognize the danger in the truncated, secretive, ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ legislative process that brought us the Stimulus and the FY 2009 Omnibus bill. Twisting the rules of the House and bypassing the democratic process breeds wasteful spending, shuts out the American people from the work of Congress, and greatly increases the risk of dangerous and unintended consequences.” Lewis said.

“In this tough economy, we must do everything we can to control government spending and ensure that the American people are getting the most out of their tax dollars,” Lewis said. “We have much to do over the next year, and I stand ready to work with my Democrat colleagues to get our appropriations work done on time, in the proper way.”

112th Congress