Congress confronting year-end budget decisions
Posted: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 8:01 pm
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats controlling the House are proposing to freeze the Pentagon’s budget in a massive $1 trillion-plus measure that would wrap most of Congress’ unfinished budget business into a single catchall spending bill.
The draft document, by House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., would deny the Pentagon the $23 billion budget increase requested by President Obama in February, making exceptions in only a number of cases, such as for the Pentagon’s Tricare health care program.
Most other agencies would also face budget freezes at current level.
The House is expected to pass the measure as early as this week — over Republican protests that it still spends too much money. It combines the annual operating budgets for every federal department or agency since not a single one of the 12 annual spending bills has passed Congress in an unprecedented collapse of the federal budget process.
There are numerous exceptions to the freeze, such as additional funding to maintain the maximum Pell Grant for low-income college students and for veterans accounts. The freeze in personnel accounts could be seen as a de facto endorsement of the federal worker pay freeze announced by Obama last week.
Published in The Messenger 12.7.10