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Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Tom Finnigan
October 29, 2004(202) 467-5300

 

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) Waste blog today blasted Congress for its inability to fulfill its most elementary duty: passage of the 13 annual appropriations bills that will run the government for the fiscal year that begins today.  Only the Defense Department has received the funds its needs for fiscal year 2005.  Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the national debt will increase by $2.29 trillion over the next decade.    

“We are in the midst of a prolonged war and we face record deficits and debt, yet Congress is derelict in its most basic duties,” CAGW President Tom Schatz said. 

As a result of congressional inaction, the government will run on a series of stopgap funding measures called continuing resolutions, which fund programs at fiscal 2004 levels.  While that keeps spending temporarily lower than it would have been, it increases the likelihood of Congress passing an all-inclusive omnibus package that gives collective cover for pork projects and special interest spending. 

“Congress is an institutional sloth.  Members had all year to consider individual appropriations bills on their own merits,” Schatz continued.  “While ensuring themselves a pay raise, they delay spending for everyone else.”  

As officials warn of a possible terrorist attack prior to the election, the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill is being held up by a $3.1 billion drought relief package included in the Senate version.  House conservatives and the White House are trying to block or offset these funds with equivalent spending cuts.  

“Drought relief should be part of the agriculture bill,” Schatz continued.  “It has nothing to do with homeland security.  So committed to higher spending are some members of both parties that they are willing to throw a wrench in the works and weaken national security until they get their way.  Furthermore, it’s questionable whether more drought relief is really needed at all.”

“Even though the resulting freeze in funding may be in the best interest of taxpayers, continuing resolutions are an abdication of responsibility," Schatz concluded.  “Congress withholds funding from essential government services and then rams through a pork-stuffed omnibus that exacerbates the deficit.  What a way to do business.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

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