Press Release ● Tax and Appropriations
For Immediate Release: 
December 19, 2005
Contact Info: 
Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the 1 % across-the-board cut to all discretionary federal spending, including national defense, passed by the House early this morning:

“Republicans have created record deficits and driven our nation deeply into debt.  Yet, they continue to pursue billions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy while blindly making across-the-board cuts to all federal programs – including national defense programs at a time of war – in a transparent and ineffective effort to appear fiscally responsible.

“Republicans have made it clear that their top priority is tax cuts for the wealthy above everything else.  With our nation at war and with the Administration and Congress receiving a scathing ‘report card’ from the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, the American people are right to wonder how we can afford to blindly cut our investment in our nation’s defense.

“Democrats urge Republicans to return to the bipartisan ‘pay-as-you-go’ budget policies that created surpluses in the 1990s.  Democrats offered a 2006 budget earlier this year that would have better invested in our nation’s defenses at home and abroad while returning the budget to balance in 2012.  We will continue to fight for smart budget and defense policies for our nation in the new year.”

The House Appropriations Committee Democratic Staff released the following analysis of the affects of the across-the-board cut on our nation’s defenses at home and abroad:

• Homeland Security - After providing an increase for DHS that barely keeps up with inflation and slashing local preparedness grants, Republicans would cut critical homeland security programs by roughly $300 million with the across-the-board cut. For example, while claiming to be for tough border enforcement, Republicans would cut Customs and Border Patrol by nearly $19 million and lose the ability to hire and train 100 of the 1,000 new Border Patrol agents they were to be hired in 2006. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would lose $32 million, including roughly $1 million that was intended to increase detention bed space.

• Defense - In the midst of the Iraq war, the across-the-board cut will reduce defense spending by $4 billion. This cut will adversely affect military pay, cause potential delays in weapons purchases and contract shortfalls, and undermine building maintenance.