House Budget Committee passes budget proposal

Published 12:21 am Monday, April 3, 2006

By By Jo Bonner
On Wednesday evening, March 29, after nearly 12 hours, my colleagues and I on the House Budget Committee approved the FY 2007 House budget resolution by a vote of 22-17.
This year's budget process officially began in February when President Bush sent his budget request to Capitol Hill for consideration. For the last several weeks, the members of the House Budget Committee have been holding hearings with various members from the administration to closely examine the president's request in terms of meeting the needs of the individual agencies and departments of the federal government.
As we do each year, we carefully examined the financial priorities suggested by the president and worked, to the best of our ability, to develop a responsible budget proposal which establishes some important goals to increase the level of fiscal responsibility in Washington.
The completion of this process last week represents a significant amount of work by members on both sides of the aisle and by both majority and minority committee staff. Each person should be commended for their attention to detail, for all of their hard work in preparing charts, exhibits, and briefing books, and for their efforts to provide what we hope will be a responsible budget proposal for the operation of the federal government for Fiscal Year 2007, which officially begins on October 1 of this year. Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle deserves a special pat on the back for his leadership on this important issue.
The budget resolution passed by the committee does not actually become law, but it (as well as a companion measure already passed by the Senate) must be adopted in some form by the House of Representatives. The House is scheduled to vote on the committee's recommendations sometime this week. If enacted, the budget would establish an overall ceiling on the funding that will be available for the organizations and related programs under the jurisdiction of the 10 subcommittees that come under the jurisdiction of the House Appropriations Committee.
During the past three budgets for which I have been a member of the Budget Committee, we have worked to control spending, reduce the deficit, and strengthen our defense and homeland security while keeping our economy strong.
The natural disasters of the past year were a reminder that in order to be prepared to afford these costs in the future, Congress must be more responsible than we've been in recent years with the American people's money. And in so doing, we must craft a federal budget that is dynamic enough to assume these costs.
The funding process for FY 2007 is of course in its early stages, and many aspects of the budget may be altered in the coming weeks by the full House and by the individual appropriations subcommittees as the needs of the federal government are debated and considered. However, I am proud of the sometimes difficult action we, on the Budget Committee, have taken in trying to set the parameters for debate in the coming weeks.
As this process continues, I will certainly keep you informed and let you know how the First District and our entire state will be impacted.
Jackson Landmark Stays Open
Most towns and cities have a landmark of some kind that distinguishes it in someway. Birmingham has Vulcan; Enterprise, the Boll Weevil monument; Mobile has the USS Alabama and Bellingrath Gardens, and for over 40 years, Jackson, in Clarke County, has had Ed's Drive In.
When the word first broke a few days ago that Ed's was closing, many of us who have enjoyed stopping along Highway 43 for some of the best food in south Alabama were heartsick.
I keep the number for Ed's programmed in my cell phone to call when I am about 15 minutes outside of Jackson. I have treated more than a few friends to an Ed's famous "hand-made" hamburger, a large iced tea (served over crushed ice, no less) and an order of French fries (never greasy, with just the right amount of salt).
Fortunately, no sooner than the news had hit the street that Ed's was closing, another Jackson resident, Billy Wimberly, jumped in with both feet to help keep this little drive in restaurant open. Billy has promised to keep everything the same – the menu, the kitchen staff. About the only thing he's going to change is the name. Ed's will now be known as "The Drive In"
With so many traditions going by the wayside, it's nice to know that this local landmark will be open for many years to come. Best of luck, Billy Wimberly. I hope to see you in a few weeks.
Jo Bonner is a U.S. congressman. His column appears weekly.

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