Chairman Rogers Opening Remarks and Statement on 302(b) Allocations at Full Committee

Jun 6, 2011
Statements

"I want to welcome everyone to the first meeting of the full Committee for the 2012 Appropriations process. We started this year in uncharted territory with none of the 2011 appropriations bills passed into law, and in fact most of the bills not having made it past Subcommittee. That led to a very difficult 4 months and a seemingly endless CR process for 2011.

"Now that that process is finally over, I’m sure you all share my relief that we have moved on to our very important work funding the government for the next fiscal year –in regular order. I can’t stress enough how important it is to our economic recovery that Americans feel secure that the government is moving to put our fiscal house in order, while making hard decisions that can and will protect and fund the crucial programs and services on which they rely.

"When I became Chairman of this Committee, I vowed that, under my watch, the Appropriations Committee would carry out the will of the American people – that we must re-establish financial health and vitality in this country by cutting spending and opening the appropriations process for the world to see. There is no better time than now to return to regular order, to complete the bills in a timely fashion and to restore our nation’s trust in how we spend the peoples’ money.

"This Committee has a longstanding tradition of comity. I know that as we move forward with this year’s bills, though we may have disagreements about how best to deal with our nation’s deficits, we will maintain the mutual respect that has come to be a hallmark of this Committee’s meetings.

"In this vein, I want to thank Mr. Dicks, the Ranking Member, for his hard work so far this year, as well as his support for returning to regular order and keeping the appropriations process open and functioning smoothly. I feel lucky to have him as my counterpart and I am looking forward to working with him and the fine members of this Committee throughout this process.

"We have set out an ambitious schedule and to the best of our ability intend to get all our bills to the full committee by August, and we are asking for floor time to get at least 9 of the bills through the floor. This will demand much of each of the Members of the Committee, and in advance, I want to thank you for all the hard work you have already put in, during hearings for example, and all the hard work you will be called upon to perform in the next several months.

"One word on process – as we move forward in Full Committee, where we will be spending a lot of quality time together – which I look forward to – we will be keeping to the 5-minute rule. I would advise Members to please limit their remarks to no more than 5 minutes."

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“The first item of business is the approval of the fiscal year 2012 302(b) allocations for each Subcommittee to comport with the 302(a) overall allocation as contained in the Budget Resolution, H. Con. Res. 34, as passed by the House.

“In process terms, we have to approve these Subcommittee allocations, based on the House-passed Budget resolution, in order to be able to bring our appropriations bills to the floor.

“And if anything, the most recent developments have borne out the need to act. Last week, our government reached the debt ceiling. We are spending so much money that we have maxed out our credit cards. When you’re borrowing more than 42 cents on every dollar you spend, you’re in real fiscal trouble. Just as our nation’s families have had to do in leaner economic times, the government must reach into its budget and make the hard decisions to cut where we can.

“These 302(b)s are a reflection of the need to pare down government spending to smart and sustainable levels. We are once again called up to make reductions of historic magnitude. The bills this year will include double-digit reductions for virtually every non-security area of government, while providing additional resources for the nation’s critical and urgent needs – such as our national defense. This will be challenging, but I believe the bills we bring forward based on these allocations will show that it can be done, by prioritizing and being the wisest possible stewards over the efficient appropriation of the available funds.

“We are changing the way the government spends its taxpayer dollars, and you’ll see this in all 12 appropriations bills this year.

“These 302(b) allocations for each of the 12 subcommittees are the starting point for a 2012 process that will help us overcome our unparalleled fiscal crisis to get our economy moving, create jobs and provide future financial security. I’m hopeful that through our actions we will help restore Americans’ confidence in how we spend their hard-earned tax dollars and keep us on the course to fiscal recovery. I urge support for these 302(b)s.”