U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi
Statement on the Conference Report to HR.2112
FY2012 Agriculture & Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Bill
FY2012 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill
FY2012 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill
Congressional Record - November 17, 2011
Mr. President, this conference report contains agreements between the House and Senate on three appropriations bills.
These bills support a wide range of important Federal Government activities. It also includes an extension of the continuing resolution that expires on Friday.
The conference report is the product of negotiations that have taken place with the other body's conferees over the past several weeks.
I commend the chairmen and ranking members of each of the subcommittees for the thoughtful manner in which they have undertaken their responsibilities. I also thank the staff members for their diligence and the many long hours they have spent in the performance of their duties and bringing us to this point.
The practice of combining multiple appropriations bills into a single package is not ideal, nor should it be encouraged. I would prefer, and I know other Senators would as well, that we have the opportunity to consider, offer amendments, and vote on the bills individually.
This summer, the months during which we normally debate appropriations bills, Congress and the President were wrangling over legislation to increase the debt ceiling and other matters. While the committee moved quickly to report bills in September, we are now more than a month into the new fiscal year and are only now approaching enactment of the first three appropriations bills. I don't know how or when we will be able to actually complete action on all these measures, but I want the Senate to know that the members of this committee, under the very able and distinguished leadership of Senator Inouye from Hawaii, have done everything within our power to try to get the Senate to move quickly but carefully to approve these bills.
So, Mr. President, without prolonging the debate and knowing other Senators are here to speak, let me just say that we have the restraints of the Budget Control Act, which were respected by the Appropriations Committee. Caps were included that locked in recent cuts in discretionary spending, and that is holding future discretionary growth below the rate of inflation. The act we are passing will bring discretionary spending as a percentage of GDP to the lowest levels since the Eisenhower administration.
I am confident the House and Senate will work together in the coming weeks to complete our negotiations on these and other appropriations bills that will fully comply with the guidance set out in the Budget Control Act. Today, we are making a good start with these three appropriations bills, and I urge support for the conference report.