Statement of Republican Policy

H.R. 3170, the Fiscal Year 2010 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act

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Washington, July 16, 2009 | comments

July 16, 2009


H.R. 3170, the Fiscal Year 2010 Financial Services and

General Government Appropriations Act

Rep. Serrano (D-NY)


House Republicans support reasonable funding levels for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President, the Judiciary, and the District of Columbia, and related agencies.  However, H.R. 3170, the FY 2010 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, contains $24.2 billion in spending which is a 7.1 percent or $1.6 billion increase above last year.  Over the past two years, the Financial Services appropriations bill has received an overall increase of 52 percent. 


Specifically, the bill provides $13.4 billion for the Treasury Department which is $758.5 million over last year’s level and $754 million for the Executive Office of the President which is 3.6 percent above last year.  It also includes $306 million for the White House, Office of Management and Budget, and related accounts, which is more than 9 percent above last year.


Even more alarming, the bill’s spending increases reflect the Democratic majority’s overall budget blueprint which increases non-defense, discretionary spending by 12 percent over last year.  When all appropriations spending is combined, the Democratic majority has increased non-defense, non-veterans discretionary spending by 85 percent over the last two fiscal years.  This level of spending is unsustainable in light of our growing deficits and debt.  Therefore, House Republicans oppose passage of the bill.


In addition, House Republicans object to the bill’s treatment of several controversial policy provisions, including those pertaining to abortion, D.C. Opportunity Scholarships, medical marijuana, needle exchanges, and domestic partnerships in the District of Columbia.


The bill deviates from long-standing policy by allowing publically funded abortion in the District of Columbia.  It maintains the federal abortion funding prohibition but permits the District to use locally-generated funds to pay for abortions on demand.  Limiting the prohibition to “federal” funds is meaningless because federal and local funds are commingled in the District.  By simply designating the funds that pay for abortions as “local” funds, the city can fund abortion on demand.  House Republicans object to approving publically funded abortion. 


The District of Columbia funded abortions throughout the 1980s until a full D.C. funding ban was enacted in FY 1989.  When the funding ban was lifted in 1994, D.C. transferred $1 million from the Medical Charities Fund to pay for abortion.  The Medical Charities Fund was created to help AIDS patients.  Congress re-instated the funding ban in FY 1996. 


House Republicans are also concerned that the bill weakens or eliminates several other

long-standing bans including those against medical marijuana, needle exchange programs, and domestic partner benefits.  Electors of the District of Columbia passed the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative in November of 1998.  However, Congress has prohibited the city from implementing the initiative since FY 1999.  Also, the bill prohibits funds from being used to operate a needle exchange program within 1,000 feet of any school, pool, day care, or youth activity center, but there is no limitation to prohibit D.C. from operating a needle exchange program outside of these restricted areas.  Finally, the bill lifts the ban on using federal funding to provide domestic partnership benefits in the District.  Prior to FY 2001, all taxpayer funding was prohibited for providing domestic partner benefits. 


The bill fails to provide for the continuation of the District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarships program by reducing funding to $12.2 million.  Students already established in the program will maintain their scholarships, but no new students or siblings of existing participants will be allowed to receive scholarships.   


Prior to FY 2009, Congress directed $42 million for school improvement equally divided between the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, D.C. public schools, and D.C. charter schools as part of a three-sector approach to education reform in the District of Columbia.  Unfortunately, D.C. public schools continue to underperform.  Under the No Child Left Behind Act, 90 of the 126 public schools are in need of improvement and less than 50 percent of high school students in the District graduate in 4 years.  In addition, more than 7,400 D.C. residents signed a petition asking for the Opportunity Scholarship program to be reauthorized.  House Republicans fully support efforts to reform public education in the District of Columbia. However, they firmly believe that children deserve a right to access a quality education today. 


Finally, the bill fails to address the massive cost and severe policy flaws associated with the implementation of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).  Rather than putting an end to the ongoing cycle of taxpayer-funded rescues or providing an exit strategy from government involvement in the private sector, the bill asks the Secretary of Treasury to provide a report to the Committee on Appropriations detailing taxpayer exposure of additional financial loss associated with the program.  In short, the Democratic majority remains intent on using TARP as a permanent slush fund to advance their tax and spend agenda.  House Republicans filed eleven amendments to the bill that address how to responsibly end TARP and begin to recover taxpayer dollars.  However, by refusing to make any of them in order, the Democratic majority has chosen to perpetuate a bail-out philosophy that most Americans have firmly rejected. 


House Republicans strongly oppose H.R. 3170, the FY 2010 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, because it spends too much and fails to maintain important long-standing prohibitions, including a ban against publically funded abortion.


Provided by the Republican Leadership and the Committee on Appropriations Republicans.
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