Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) sent a letter today stating their intention to “look at all available appropriations vehicles to discontinue funding directly related to NPR programming,” according to a press release.
The letter was sent to Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS). The subcommittee has jurisdiction over the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Senator Shelby is Ranking Member on the subcommittee while Senators Graham and Johnson are members.
According to the letter, NPR receives funding through the subcommittee’s appropriations bill by way of “the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s system support account, radio programming and community service grants.”
NPR received roughly $2.9 million in the fiscal year 2010 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill and it is our intention to work with our colleagues to terminate funding for NPR.
Read the full letter here.
In a “major development on spending cuts, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado are introducing a proposal for a new congressional committee focused only on eliminating duplicative and wasteful government spending,” the Daily Caller reports.
Udall’s backing of the “anti-appropriations committee” is one of the most significant moves to embrace spending cuts by a moderate Democrat in the Senate and gives the proposal momentum and cover from potential critics, insiders say.
Hatch has both the incentive and the skill to pull off passage of the new committee, proponents hope. He could face a challenge from the right in securing the Republican nomination in Utah for the 2012 cycle, and is known for his knack at reaching across the aisle.
The committee “would consist of six Republicans and six Democrats.”
At least once a year, the committee would introduce legislation to reduce or eliminate duplicative or wasteful programs that would receive an up-or-down vote under the “reconciliation” rules that prevent a filibuster.
Crucially, the committee would also have subpoena power to investigate potentially wasteful government programs.
Update: An official press release has been issued announcing the push for this committee. It would be called the Committee to Reduce Government Waste. Some further details:
As outlined by Hatch and Udall, the Committee to Reduce Government Waste would submit a report to the Senate at least once a year that identified underperforming and wasteful government programs in need of cuts or elimination. The committee’s recommendations would receive expedited consideration in the Senate. It would be comprised of 12 members, four from each of the Senate Finance, Appropriations and Budget committees. The Senate Majority and Minority leaders would each pick six members. Each member’s service would be limited to six years.
Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) “announced Monday that he will push for a 5 percent cut from Congress’ operating budget for the remainder of the fiscal year,” Roll Call reports.
The Nebraska Democrat, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, said he will try to cut that amount from the legislative branch’s roughly $4 billion budget in his subcommittee’s fiscal 2011 spending bill.
“We’re taking a very careful look at it, but there will be cuts,” he told Roll Call.
The exact dollar amount of the reduction is unclear, because half of the fiscal year has already passed. But it likely will not match the nearly $200 million in cuts called for in the House’s legislative branch funding bill.
The Senate Appropriations Committee today unveiled subcommittee memberships for the 112th Congress. Read them here.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) announced today that the committee “will implement a moratorium on earmarks for the current session of Congress,” according to a press release.
It amounts to a “two year moratorium, as it will apply to both the FY 2011 and FY 2012 bills.”
Chairman Inouye said he continues to “support the Constitutional right of members of Congress to direct investments to their states and districts under the fiscally responsible and transparent earmarking process that we have established” but went on to say that the “handwriting is clearly on the wall.”
He also noted that the committee would “thoroughly review its earmark policy to ensure that every member has a precise definition of what constitutes an earmark.”