Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact:Sean Rushton or Melissa Naudin
April 16, 2001(202) 467-5300


Washington, D.C. – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today expressed general support for the Bush Administration’s $1.96 trillion federal budget, released last week, and called for greater spending reductions and a commission to audit the federal government.

“With his new federal government budget, President Bush is signaling official Washington that the Clinton-era status quo is not good enough, and that is good news for taxpayers,” CAGW President Tom Schatz said.  “This budget challenges Senate pork barons like Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Robert Byrd (D-W.VA.) to clean up their acts and stop raiding the public treasury for special interests back home.  That both parties’ big-spenders are apoplectic is a clear sign Bush is charting the right course.”

The Bush budget allows for $1.5 trillion dollars in tax cuts and reduces the growth rate of domestic-agency budgets from 8 percent in 2000, to 4 percent in 2001, and then to 2.5 percent after 2003.  Plus, it reserves $1 trillion over the next decade to enable younger workers to put their payroll-tax dollars into individual investment accounts.

“By capping the budget’s growth at 4 percent, the president makes it significantly tougher for lots of last minute pork and bogus ‘emergency spending’ to be added on,” Schatz added.  “The idea that the general welfare would be imperiled by ‘only’ increasing spending by four percent is preposterous and illustrates the entrenched, tax-and-spend mentality in Congress.”

Discretionary domestic expenditures grew by 4 percent in 1997, 6 percent in 1998, 11 percent in 1999 and nearly 8 percent in 2000.  The Bush Administration has signaled it will veto appropriations that come in significantly over budget.  

The Bush budget also reduces corporate welfare, another positive step.  It eliminates over $100 million in oil and steel subsidies, $94 million in oil and gas industry subsidies, and $215 million in obsolete health profession training grants.  It cuts the Export-Import Bank by 25 percent, suspends funding for the Advanced Technology Program, and cuts $1.4 billion from the bloated Department of Agriculture.

The budget increases funding for the Department of Education substantially, which CAGW would not have recommended.  CAGW would have instead cut, for example, America Reads, established in 1997 to recruit college students to help children read.  Low response and mismanagement have plagued the program, and taxpayers already pay $8 billion for 14 literacy programs.  Similarly, CAGW suggests cutting the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, which in the last appropriations bill received $140 million in pork.  Bush only funds it at $51 million, but this is likely to skyrocket during the appropriations process.  CAGW would also cut the $282 million Americorps budget entirely.

Bush increases funding for the Department of Health and Human Services by 13.5 percent.  CAGW applauds him for cutting the Community Access Program and recommends eliminating the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which will receive $100 million in FY 2002.

At the Department of Energy, CAGW calls for ending federal funding for the Partnership for New Generation Vehicles, which would save $853 million over five years, and we applaud Bush for reducing funding for solar and wind programs by 50 percent.

Finally, the Bush budget would eliminate over 6,000 unrequested earmarks – AKA pork - from federal outlays.  This year, by CAGW’s estimation, there were 6,333 such improper items crammed in by appropriators amounting to $18.5 billion, a figure in line with the administration’s projection.

“The main problem with the Bush budget is it leaves fundamental issues of federal waste, mismanagement, and abuse for another day,” Schatz said.  “CAGW would have preferred a freeze on all  spending until the federal agencies have opened their books for auditing and streamlining.  It is vital the administration convene a government waste commission soon to jumpstart such fundamental reform.” 

CAGW has identified $1.2 trillion over five years in waste that should be trimmed from the budget immediately.  

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



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