Friday, May 13, 2011

House Republican Appropriators Propose Further Discretionary Spending Cuts for Fiscal Year 2012

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY-5) on Wednesday announced a schedule calling for the completion of work on the 12 fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills by the end of the fiscal year, and proposed 2012 allocations that would cut $30 billion from this year's (2011) appropriated levels, including a $1 billion reduction to the Energy and Water subcommittee that among other things deals with Army Corps civil works funding, an almost $2 billion cut to the Interior and Environment subcommittee that oversees development of the Department of Interior and U.S. EPA budgets, and a $2.7 billion cut to the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration subcommittee, which oversees USDA spending.
These suballocations, called 302(b) allocations, limit the total spending on each of the 12 appropriations bills and are enforced through points of order established in budget law and the budget resolution.  They effectively represent ceilings for House Appropriations committee and subcommittee members as they draft individual 2012 spending bills for federal agencies. The numbers are subject to change until the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Resolution is officially adopted, and until the Appropriations Committee approves the final funding levels.   The draft 302(b) allocations would give the Energy and Water subcommittee $30.6 billion for the next fiscal year, compared to the $31.6 billion enacted level for 2011 and $36.5 billion in President Obama's budget request. The Interior and Environment subcommittee would be allocated nearly $27.5 billion, $ 2 billion below the $29.6 billion approved in 2011 and $3.8 billion below the President's proposed funding level.  The Agriculture - FDA 302(b) allocation is $17.3 billion; $2.7 billion below the 2011 level and a greater than $5 billion cut from the President's proposal.

House activities will likely be dominated into September by the 12 appropriations bills, according to Rogers, who said in a statement that he intends to have spending bills enacted by September 30, the end of the current fiscal year.  The proposed schedule for the appropriations bills would move nine of the 12 spending bills through the House by August 8, the start of the August recess. However, House floor debate on the three most contentious spending bills,containing the deepest proposed cuts (Foreign Aid, Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation and Housing) would all occur in September after Congress reconvenes from the recess.

In a statement responding to the GOP plan Appropriations Committee Ranking member Norm Dicks (D-WA-6) termed the cuts “brutal,” saying “These reductions are irresponsible and they would necessitate draconian cuts to programs that Americans depend on."

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