Leaner budget finds support in Congress

As the deficit-cutting ‘super committee’ continues its work, the U.S. House and Senate approved a $130.4 billion budget Thursday for five Cabinet-level departments.

The appropriations bill, which divided North Carolina’s two Senators, sets the 2012 budgets for the Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments.

Senator Kay Hagan, who supported the spending plan, notes that the bill includes $39.1 billion for federal highway funding, as well as $1.7 billion in emergency disaster funding to assist states in rebuilding federal highways that were damaged by major natural disasters, such as Hurricane Irene.

For the Department of Agriculture, $80.4 billion is allocated for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), $18.2 billion for child nutrition programs including school lunch and breakfast programs, and $6.6 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

The bill also earmarks $50 million in security funding for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte next year.

But in an effort to create a leaner federal government, the bill also scales back spending in several areas. That meant eliminating $8 billion President Obama had requested for high-speed rail. Also gone from the 2012 spending bill was a climate change office for NOAA. Other losers included the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, which saw $35 million cut from the program designed to increase access to healthy, affordable food in communities that lack such options.


  1. david esmay

    November 18, 2011 at 10:28 am

    It is very dismaying that congress continues to address issues plaguing our country in such a short sighted manner, choosing a direction that contrasts to the will of, and the benefit of the people they serve. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has repeatedly pointed out that the current budget deficit has been caused largely by temporary issues including , two unfunded wars, multiple rounds of tax cuts for the rich, the recession, 2008 financial crisis, and the governments reaction to the crisis. The larger debt in the long term will be a structural problem related to a growing population that lives longer and the sky-rocketing healthcare costs associated with it. Drastically cutting spending, along with any continuation of current tax levels will only exacerbate current and future problems. Delaying investments to maintain public structures like education and infrastructure will end up costing us more down the road. The right wingers and their messianic mission to constrict the government’s size, will in the end, prolong the slide. They want control, and apparently are willing to destroy any and everything to achieve this goal, that includes social safety nets, environmental protections, basically anything that safe guards the citizens. A prime example is the proposal brought by the Republicans on the super committe, make the Bush tax cuts permanent, in other words, we’re going to push through cuts with the deliberate intention of worsening the government’s position, to hell with the repercussions. It’s a classic bait and switch, rather than propose unpopular spending cuts,i.e. defense, push the tax cuts and then spending cuts can be sold as the only means to contol the deficit. It’s treasonous.

  2. Alex

    November 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a
    permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until
    the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from
    the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for
    the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury,
    with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose
    fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”
    Alexander Tyler….1785

  3. Alex

    November 18, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Guess which stage we are in ?
    1.From bondage to spiritual faith;
    2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
    3. From courage to liberty;
    4. From liberty to abundance;
    5. From abundance to complacency;
    6. From complacency to apathy;
    7. From apathy to dependence;
    8. From dependence back into bondage

  4. david esmay

    November 19, 2011 at 9:35 am

    From the time that corporations and the wealthy discovered that they can buy congressmen, who will then bestow upon them generous gifts from the public treasury, they will continue to do so. Legalized bribery must end in order to preserve the democracy. The founders feared the republic would not last, they expected the people to act, just as they had, if the government became a tool of the priviledged. “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong it’s reign by working on the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed.”– Abraham Lincoln

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