Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson put forth an appropriations bill today that would slash the EPA’s budget by $2.9 billion next year, a 35 percent cut that would drop the agency to a funding level below what it had in 1978 and block the Obama Administration’s climate change agenda. The Interior and Environment Appropriations bill includes a total of more than $5 billion in cuts, including major cuts to the Forest Service, BLM, national parks and more, but EPA would bear the biggest brunt.
“This Administration’s appetite for new regulations and disregard for the will of Congress have left us with little choice but to block his climate change agenda in this bill,” said Simpson, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment. “The actions we’ve taken to address the EPA’s overreach and reduce its budget not only help us meet the tight spending constraints under which we’re operating, they help our struggling economy and encourage job creators to invest and expand.”
Simpson brought his bill to his subcommittee for mark up today, no amendments were offered, and it was approved on a 7-5 party-line vote. It now moves to the full House Appropriations Committee, where it is expected to be taken up next week. Simpson warned that until Congress gets serious about making big changes in the larger, mandatory spending portion of the federal budget – including entitlements – big cuts like these in the discretionary portion of the budget will be required.
“One thing I didn’t hear in all of the comments that were made [from the other side of the aisle] is the fact that we are $17 trillion in debt. $17 trillion,” Simpson said during the subcommittee meeting. “Now, if you want to talk about leaving a legacy for future generations, let that continue to grow and grow and grow and not have the courage to do anything about it. … We are not doing anything different [in this bill] than state legislatures have been doing for about the last four or five years in trying to address their budget problems. They’ve made tough and ugly decisions all across the board, but we act here like because we’ve got a printing press we are exempt from making those tough decisions. We’re not exempt; we’re $17 trillion in debt.” You can read his full news release here on the appropriations bill and what's in it.