With the 2011 appropriations bills finally complete, the House turned its attention to the 2012 bills last week. Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) set the goal of completing the committee's work by the August recess to permit the full House to consider the bills by the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30.
Rogers said the bills will include "double-digit reductions for virtually every non-security area of government." He proposed allocations to divide the House-passed budget resolution's $1.019 trillion discretionary spending allocation among the 12 subcommittees.
The preliminary allocations, subject to change when Congress adopts the final budget resolution, include cuts for every subcommittee except defense. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wa.), ranking member of the committee, raised concerns that the cuts could lead to "a severe setback for economic growth" by decreasing government jobs.
Also last week, subcommittees completed action on the first two bills: Homeland Security and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs. The full committee is scheduled to consider the bills May 23.
Congress should approve responsible bills that can help address the fiscal challenges facing our nation. Both parties should work to avoid the delays of the 2011 process, which was not completed until the second half of the fiscal year.