The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved two funding measures that not only violate the spending caps under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), but also call for more spending than even President Obama asked for in his most recent budget. A number of Republicans were complicit.
Senators Jerry Moran (Kan.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine), and Thad Cochran (Miss.) joined Democrats in support of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, which calls for $54 billion in funding for fiscal year 2014. That is nearly $10 billion above the BCA cap, and almost $2.5 billion more than what Obama requested. (On a related note, see Kevin’s article on the homepage about wasteful spending at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.) The bill also includes $962 million in funding for the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen program, which I wrote about here. The program, intended to modernize the nation’s air-traffic-control infrastructure, has been severely mismanaged, resulting in delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns.
That same group of GOP senators voted, along with Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), in favor of the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill, which called for $34.8 billion in funding — $4.3 billion above the BCA cap, and $290 million more than Obama’s request. That makes eight Republicans — more than half of the 14 Republicans on the committee. Six of the eight voted for the Budget Control Act in 2011. Moran and Graham did not.
“It is incumbent upon lawmakers, including senators, to do more than simply protect their turf — they should be outlining their priorities,” says Dan Holler, communications director for Heritage Action. “By refusing to comply with a law that many of them supported, they are further eroding their creditability with the American people.”