Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Senate to Abandon Earmarks for 2 Years

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) said Tuesday that he would not accept requests for earmarks during the next two years. This comes after President Obama said in his State of the Union address last week that he would veto any bills with earmarks. House Republican leaders have already agreed that they will not support earmarks during the 112th Congress. Inouye reiterated that he supports members directing funding back to their states as a constitutional prerogative of Congress, and he indicated that a review of Congressionally directed spending options may occur sometime in 2012.

The House is not in session this week, but the House Appropriations Committee is expected to begin considering a funding resolution next week after House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan (R-WI) sets new funding allocations. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has pledged to bring this funding measure to the floor on the week of February 14, since the current continuing resolution expires on March 4. According to media reports, House Republican leaders are tentatively planning to propose an aggregate cut of around $50 billion from current funding (FY 2010) levels, but they will allow conservatives to offer amendments on the floor to increase the cuts up to $100 billion. Expected programmatic cuts are not yet known.

The President will release his budget on Monday, February 14.

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