The Hill reports today that the head of money appropriations in Congress are near an agreement on a framework to finalize the 2012 spending bills.
Hawaii’s Senior Senator Daniel Inouye is the Senate Appropriations Chair and deeply involved in negotiations.
The Hill writes: “The phone call between House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) came on a day when the House approved a six-week funding measuring giving Congress until Nov. 18 to dispose of 12 appropriations bills or again risk a government shutdown.
“The summer debt ceiling deal set an overall discretionary spending level of $1.043 trillion for 2012. Rogers said that the chairmen are moving closer to agreeing on a way to divide that pie into 12 pieces.
“Only once this division is decided, can the GOP and Democrats discuss how to move the 12 different bills and how to deal with dozens of policy riders in each including blockbuster items like the defunding of health reform and financial reform. …
“He said the House has proposed allocations based on $1.043 trillion but the Senate still won’t quite agree. Inouye is conferring with his members, Rogers said.”
Meanwhile the Citizens Against Government Waste examines one of the Senate spending bills now in flux: The fiscal year (FY) 2012 Department of Defense (DOD) Appropriations Bill.
The Washington DC based non partisan watchdog organization notes that the bill allocates $620.2 billion for the DOD, which is $39.9 billion below what was allocated in 2011; $26.2 billion under what the President requested for his FY 2012 budget, and $18.1 billion less than what the House allocated, the CAGW notes.
“Unfortunately for taxpayers, the bill contains $2.9 billion for 49 earmarks that either were not requested by the Pentagon, represent a substantial increase over the budget request, and/or were not specifically authorized, thus meeting CAGW’s long-established earmark criteria. This dollar total represents a 25.6 percent decrease from the $3.9 billion in earmarks added by the House.”
The group cites “pork” added to the Senate spending bill”
- “$406,605,000 for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), a collaborative missile defense project intended to replace the Patriot Missile system, which has been used by the U.S. and its allies for decades. MEADS has experienced cost overruns of $2 billion and is 10 years behind schedule. When asked by Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) in a hearing of the Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee on March 29, 2011 whether he could guarantee that this amount would be sufficient to complete the research and design phase of MEADS, Undersecretary of Defense Robert F. Hale stated he could not. The Senate failed to authorize funding for MEADS, making the amount contained in this bill an earmark.
- “$354,000,000 for research, development, test, and evaluation in the Defense Health Program.
- “$250,000,000 for a weather satellite follow-on.
- “$15,000,000 for university research initiatives.
- “$1,125,000 for a preventive health allowance demonstration project.”