President's reformed budget presented to Congress

Published 4:00 am Monday, February 14, 2005

By by Jo Bonner
The process of establishing spending levels and preparing the appropriations bills for the federal government officially began on Monday, February 7, when President Bush sent his FY 2006 budget proposal to Capitol Hill.
As with the budget process in previous years, the House of Representatives now enters the challenging phase of trying to meet the budget priorities of our country while at the same time keeping discretionary spending low and working towards elimination of the federal deficit.
At the outset, it is important to note that the budget submitted by the president is only a proposal outlining his fiscal goals for the next year. From this point, members of Congress will be working to draft their own version of the budget which may or may not represent many of the same goals as the administration has set forth.
The administration's budget proposal contains some ambitious goals, all of which are intended to move the government toward the president's objective of cutting the deficit in half by 2009.
In its present form, the FY 2006 budget calls for a reduction of nearly one percent in non-security discretionary spending, representing a savings of over $20 billion in the next year alone. Additionally, defense spending will increase 4.8%, bringing the total increase in that area to 41 percent since 2001. Homeland security spending (in areas not included in the defense portion of the budget) will also increase by 8 percent.
Nearly every federal agency, sub-agency, and government-funded program you could imagine is included in this budget proposal, and to try and go into detail on everything it includes would be nearly impossible.
However, the House takes a very careful look at every aspect of the president's budget, and there will be numerous hearings held in the weeks ahead. The Budget Committee on which I serve is already holding its first hearings; in the past week alone, Treasury Secretary John Snow and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Joshua Bolten gave testimony justifying the president's fiscal objectives for the coming year.
Because we are still early in this process, a great deal of work remains before the budget process for FY 2006 is brought to an end. However, as I participate in further hearings and in the drafting of the House budget resolution, I will continue to keep one important thought in mind.
I strongly believe that more than anything else, the one thing we in Congress can do for our constituents as effective stewards of the money you send to Washington is to be fiscally responsible and cut wasteful spending.
The path we take to the elimination of deficit spending is a long one, and I don't think anyone will tell you that achieving that goal will be easy. However, as your representative in Washington I will continue to do all I can to ensure we balance the needs of the American people and the government's legitimate obligations with maintaining a strong level of fiscal responsibility.
Further democratic reforms in the Middle East
On Thursday morning this past week, as I was reading the daily edition of the Washington Post, I ran across a story of some extreme significance

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox