As the season of appropriations begins in earnest, Congress will take up the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill. This bill (HR 4660), which funds the Departments of Commerce and Justice, as well as NASA and other related agencies, provides $51.202 billion in discretionary budget authority.
Obviously, from a conservative perspective, the entire Department of Commerce is a waste of money and should not exist. But at the very least, we should cut back on failed programs. Instead, this bill actually provides $3.8 billion in extra spending relative to last year’s House bill. The Heritage Foundation has already detailed $2.6 billion in additional spending cuts that should be included in the bill.
A number of conservative members will be offering amendments to cut spending. One of the most important amendments that has been proposed so far is Rep. Mike Pompeo’s (R-KS) amendment to abolish the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The EDA is a failed Great Society program that serves as a stimulus/pork slush fund for special interest communities under the guise of assistance to economically distressed areas of the country. It’s nothing more than a fund for corporate welfare and a way of picking winners and losers in the market. It has been as successful in creating jobs as Obama’s stimulus. Senator DeMint wrote a great piece on the EDA two years ago analyzing its history of failed promises.
Anyone who claims to oppose earmarks and stimulus must oppose the EDA. This bill appropriates $248 million for the EDA, a slight increase from last year’s enacted level. Call your members and ask them to support the Pompeo amendment to end the EDA. If we can’t close down this failed agency, we will certainly never eliminate any major agency or full department.
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