Republicans Proceed With Appropriations Despite Failure to Finalize Budget that Replaces the Sequester

For Immediate Release:

June 4, 2013

It has been 75 days since the House passed a budget, and 73 days since the Senate completed their budget, yet House Republicans still have not appointed conferees to work towards a compromise budget.  A compromise would allow Congress to replace the irrational sequester with a balanced and bipartisan alternative, and set funding levels used in the appropriations bills.  Despite missing this step, House Republicans have decided to move forward with the appropriations process, instituting the Ryan Budget’s harmful budget levels and creating problems for the future fiscal negotiations between the House and the Senate.

CALLS FOR BUDGET CONFERENCE IGNORED

So far, 181 House Democrats have cosponsored a resolution calling for the House Republican leadership to appoint conferees to complete the budget process and Senate Democrats have been denied the ability to move the budget process forward 11 times by Republicans.  However, a growing number of Republicans have admitted the importance of following regular order, which would require going to conference on the budget:

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole: “It seems to be almost unreal that we can’t get together on a budget or legislation.  I mean, we weren’t perfect by a long shot, but at least we got our work done .”
[FOX News, 5/26].

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers: “It is my sincere hope that the House and Senate can come together on a sustainable budget compromise to replace sequestration and establish a responsible, single House and Senate top-line discretionary budget number.” [Politico 5/16]

Sen. Susan Collins: “We have called repeatedly for a return to regular order in this body. Well, regular order is going to conference. [The Republican stance] certainly is ironic at the least. It is an opportunity for the Republican House to argue for its budget.” [Talking Points Memo, 5/21]

Sen. Johnny Isakson: “I don’t have a prerequisite to going to conference.  We’ve always talked about needing budgets. I doubt if we can reconcile it between the two bodies. But it would be worth trying.” [CQ, 5/14]

Sen. Bob Corker: “I think we should [go to conference]. For four years, we’ve been waiting for a budget. To now keep from appointing conferees is not consistent.” [CQ, 5/14]

Sen. John McCain: “I’m very much in favor of [going to conference], and I think we ought to do it right away.” [POLITICO, 5/9]

Sen. Tom Coburn: “I’m OK with it going now.” [POLITICO, 5/9]

Sen. Mike Enzi: “I’ve always been in favor of regular order.” [POLITICO, 5/9]

Sen. Jeff Flake: “There is value to regular order.” [POLITICO, 5/9]

Sen. John Boozman: “I think we need to go to conference… I would very much like to see a conference.” [POLITICO, 5/9]

HOUSE REPUBLICANS PROCEED WITH DRASTIC APPROPRIATIONS

Meanwhile, ignoring these calls for conference, House Republicans have begun consideration of appropriations bills.  These bills implement the harmful budget cuts set by the Ryan Budget, and many individual programs are set to see reductions far below those agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011. While Military Construction-Veteran Affairs and Homeland Security are fully funded for Fiscal Year 2014, several other agencies that fund programs including education, embassy security, and energy development are poised to be cut by more than 25 percent.

By fully funding some agencies, other agencies will be forced to contend with drastic and non-proportional reductions to comply with the Ryan Budget levels.  Here’s a look at some of the most drastic cuts that House Republicans have planned:

Agency

 

Reduction

Financial Services

27.6%

Interior

19.6%

Labor-Health and Human Services-Education

26.5%

State-Foreign Operations

28.8%

Instead of pushing ahead with flawed appropriations bills, House Republicans should go to conference so that a bipartisan agreement can be reached with the Senate to replace the irrational sequester and finish the budget so that we can provide economic stability and responsibly address our deficits.

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