(Sponsor: Byrd (D), West Virginia)
The Administration strongly opposes S. 1745 because, in combination with the other FY 2008 appropriations bills, it includes an irresponsible and excessive level of spending and includes other objectionable provisions.
The President has proposed a responsible plan for a balanced budget by 2012 through spending restraint and without raising taxes. To achieve this important goal, the Administration supports a responsible discretionary spending total of not more than $933 billion in FY 2008, which is a $60 billion increase over the FY 2007 enacted level. The Democratic Budget Resolution and subsequent spending allocations adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee exceed the President's discretionary spending topline by $22 billion causing a 9 percent increase in FY 2008 discretionary spending. In addition, the Administration opposes the Senate Appropriations Committee's plan to shift $3.5 billion from the Defense appropriations bill to non-defense spending, which is inconsistent with the Democrats' Budget Resolution and risks diminishing America's war fighting capacity.
S. 1745 exceeds the President's request for programs funded in this bill by $3.2 billion, part of the $22 billion increase above the President's request for FY 2008 appropriations. The Administration has asked that Congress demonstrate a path to live within the President's topline and cover the excess spending in this bill through reductions elsewhere. Because Congress has failed to demonstrate such a path, if S. 1745 were presented to the President, he would veto the bill.
The President has called on Congress to reform the earmarking process that has led to wasteful and unnecessary spending. Specifically, he called on Congress to provide greater transparency and full disclosure of earmarks, to put them in the language of the bill itself, and to cut the cost and number by at least half. The Administration opposes any efforts to shield earmarks from public scrutiny and urges Congress to bring full transparency to the earmarking process, eliminate wasteful earmarks, and to cut the cost and number of earmarks by at least half.
The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee's version of the bill.