Funding Cuts to the Funding Committee: Changes to House Appropriations

January 6, 2011
by Jen Maurer, Sr. Policy Associate

There will be less power and thus less angling to join the House Appropriations Committee in the new 112th Congress. The Appropriations Committee controls all spending, and it used to be said that there were Republicans, Democrats, and Appropriators, a statement about the power of appropriators and their bipartisanship work. However, the House Appropriations Committee voted to cut their funding by 9 percent and reduce total membership from 60 to 50. These actions, combined with the House Republicans outlaw of earmarks (funding for specific projects in states and districts), mean the once-powerful committee will have less power, and it will be interesting to see who ends up on the Appropriations Committee. Important note: Our work to get funding for TB or basic education are not considered “earmarks,” but programmatic requests, so it still an important committee for our work! There will also be considerable shake-up in the Senate, as only one member of the Senate Foreign Operations Subcommittee of Appropriations returns this year. We’ll keep you updated on when we hear who is on the appropriations committees as well as the foreign affairs committees.

Another new change to House appropriations rules is a change to the pay-as-you-go (“PAYGO”) rules, which required that any tax cut or spending increase for a mandatory (i.e., entitlement) program be offset by cuts in other mandatory spending or tax increases. The new rules state that increases in spending have to be offset, but tax cuts do not.

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