Hal Rogers, President Obama and the federal budget | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Hal Rogers, President Obama and the federal budget

There are two federal budgeting processes going on at the same time, both ramped up this week, and the swirl of numbers and dates can be confusing. 

The House Republican's Continuing Resolution proposal includes cutting funding entirely for PBS and NPR, and significant cuts to  K-12 education, the Centers for Disease Control, food safety, and a number of programs that serve low-income children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Some sort of Continuing Resolution must be passed before March 4th to prevent a shutdown of the federal government.

President Obama's 2012 budget proposal would pick up on October 1, right as the Continuing Resolution ends. While KFTC hasn't taken a stance on these federal proposals, the Economic Policy Institute put it this way: "The president's budget, though severely flawed, is far better than alternatives supported by many in Congress – a low bar, indeed."

Here are some resources to help you get your footing:

Budgets and Continuing Resolutions: What's the Difference? from PBS, offers a great, clarifying overview of the difference between the U.S. House Republican proposal for a Continuing Resolution, and President Obama's proposal for a budget.  Here's a chart pulled from that page, but the article is short and absolutely worth reading if you're a little confused.

  PBS chart


  • The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is publishing helpful overviews and analysis of the President's budget proposal and House's Continuing Resolution proposal.  They have lots of information about the policies' impacts on jobs, so check them out.  Here are a few to start with:

Republican-proposal to 'right our fiscal ship' throws more workers overboard:  This article details the impact that the House proposal would have on jobs, including a great interactive chart.  Here's an excerpt:

Appropriations Committee chairman Hal Rogers has stated that he has a unique opportunity to "right our fiscal ship." In reality, the nonsecurity discretionary budget is not adding to our long-term debt instability. If anything, the GOP efforts to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans and water down the estate tax have made our fiscal ship a leakier vessel (according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, these tax policies will have a two-year deficit impact of $139 billion). The proposed program cuts not only fail to offset that lost tax revenue, but they also target programs that exist to promote innovation, global competitiveness, and community and safety-net services. This is an effort to cut helpful and innovative programs and services traditionally opposed by conservatives, disguised as an effort to promote fiscal responsibility. It would reduce jobs, it would hurt millions of people, and it would barely dent our long-term budget picture.

  • Here's a statement from EPI that offers an overview to President Obama's 2012 budget proposal. Very short, and a good place to start. Scroll down to the bottom for links to deeper analysis of the proposed tax policies, public investments, and budget cuts. 
  • Finally, an NPR story, Democrats Turn 'Where Are The Jobs?' Chant On GOP" about people – workers and economists – who are very concerned that the Republican House proposal to slash government funding will cost jobs. Here's an excerpt:

With unemployment at 9 percent, the evidence that federal spending hurts job growth "is thin to nonexistent," said Princeton economist Alan Blinder....

Alexander J. Field, an economics professor at Santa Clara University, said he had "very little sympathy for the sentiments" in the letter Boehner forwarded. Spending cuts should be pursued when economies are strong, not weak, he said, and the House Republicans' agenda would probably increase unemployment....

Senate Democrats said Wednesday the House GOP plan would eliminate nearly $700 million in Title I grants to schools with disadvantaged students, and about "10,000 teachers and aides could lose their jobs." Congressional offices circulated White House budget office estimates saying the Republican bill would cut Head Start by more than $1 billion, leading to the layoffs of about 55,000 teachers and staff.

Rep. Hal Rogers Kentucky's own 5th District U.S. House Representative, Rep. Hal Rogers, chairs the U.S. House Appropriations and Budget Committee, and is a key player in the House's proposals.  

Of all 436 Congressional districts in ther United States, Kentucky's 5th Congressional district, Rogers' district, ranked dead last in Gallup's overall well-being index, which combines information on physical and emotional well-being, life evaluation, work environment and basic access to government services.  You can read more about that in this article by Matt Wasson on the Huffington Post, which also details how Rep. Rogers is overseeing the inclusion of several amendments that would remove safeguards for water, air, and mountains in the House proposal. 

If you'd like to contact Rep. Rogers, his number is 202-225-4601, or you can email him.

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