Irritation in Congress over appropriations

Aug. 5, 2012 at 12:09 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Leaders of congressional appropriations committees say they're frustrated at seeing the spending bills they crafted being derailed by U.S. election-year delays.

A dozen such bills have been basically shelved by the latest stopgap measure in Congress, which last week extended current spending programs for six months.

"They represent nearly a year of work," House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said Friday. "We put a lot of effort into those bills."

The Hill said House and Senate appropriators had largely finalized all 12 bills before the leadership of both chambers struck a deal to delay final votes until 2013, well after the November elections and into the next congressional session.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the stalled bills included spending cuts and program cancellations that were worthwhile.

"Agreeing to put the government on autopilot for six months is no great achievement," Cochran said. "Our committee members have done the work of scrutinizing budgets, holding hearings, and drafting bills. Those bills deserve to be considered by the Senate, negotiated with the House and sent to the president as soon as possible."

The delay means a new Congress will be in session by the time the bills are considered, The Hill said, which would make them legally irrelevant.

Congress will not necessarily have to start from scratch on the appropriations bills; however,The Hill noted the political shakeup in November made it likely Congress would have other priorities.

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