Tuesday, July 23, 2013

House GOP Pushing Huge Cuts To EPA, Wildlife, Arts

House Republicans recently passed a farm bill that includes subsidies for agribusinesses and the wealthy and does not include food stamps. The House GOP has also unveiled a draft bill calling for massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, wildlife and the arts. The party is motivated in part by the goal of stopping the implementation of agreed-upon cuts to the military budget:

The proposal reflects the GOP’s opening salvo in what is shaping up to be an ugly battle to keep the government open when funding expires on September 30. Republicans are demanding a swath of new cuts to domestic programs, in part to protect the military budget from long-term spending reductions that the two sides agreed to in 2011.

Under the GOP’s draft spending bill, the EPA in particular takes a huge blow: its budget is cut by a whopping 34 percent, or $2.8 billion, bringing the new level to $5.5 billion. Other programs that take a hit include the National Park Service (9 percent cut), the Fish and Wildlife Service (27 percent cut) and the U.S. Geological Survey (9 percent cut).

...The Smithsonian Institution and National Gallery of Art each face a 19 percent cut, while the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities are cut by nearly half (or $71 million).

The draft proposal is set to be considered Tuesday by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment before it faces a full committee hearing. Democrats say the cuts are unacceptable and are gearing up to make the case against them.

Interior Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson (R-ID) hinted that Republicans will continue pushing for massive domestic cuts until Congress tackles “mandatory spending,” which includes safety-net programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Image: Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

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