What Deficit Crisis? Congress Continues Its Pork- Laden Spending Spree

Report Budget and Spending

What Deficit Crisis? Congress Continues Its Pork- Laden Spending Spree

August 3, 1990 7 min read Download Report
Scott Hodge
Bradley Fellow in Education Policy

(Archived document, may contain errors)

8/3/90 137


(Updaftg BwAgmm&r No.780, "While Talking About A Deficit Crisis, Congress Proposes Billions in New Spending," July 25,1990.) How is Congress responding to George Bush's broken no-new-tax pledge? With visions of new revenues dancing in its head, Congress has gone on a spending spree that will push the federal budget and the tax burden on the American people to record highs. While many in Congress thus publicly wring their hands and gnash their teeth about what they call the deficit crisis, what they really seem to care about is only more spending. Examples: On July 18, the House of Repre- sentatives passed a $50.34 billion Rural Development/Agriculture appropriations bill, which is $5.18 billion or 11.46 percent higher than the 1990 amount. On July 19 the House approved a $170.44 billion'Labor/Health and Human Services up iLopriations bill, which increases spending by $1731 billion or 113 percent over last year's level. With only eight of the thirteen iations bills passed so far, the House already has spent $403.09 billion, or $41 billion over 1990 levels, an increase of 11.4 percent.71iis is $68 billion over 1989 levels, an increase of 20 percent.

Table I Appropriations Bills ($billions for Fiscal Year)

. .. .. ... ... ...... .

A. ..... M KX -1.20 -2930 -1020 1-0 14.85 11.70 11.10 10.50

. ............... . .......... '. " 17.83 18.43 20.20 20.77 +2.40 +16.52 +12.70 OW 14.29 15.52 15.52 15.78 +030 +10.46 +1.69 .Mr- Mal., 5939 71.28 78.78 83.57 +1230 +40.72 +17.25

R 1 25.67 28.17 26.73 30.94 +2.70 +20.54 +9.50 X 16. 18.45 20.71 20.72 +2.27 +29.34 +1230 -@M 02 ,M RfiffLill 140.37 153.13 16623 170.44 +17.31 +21.42 +11-30 46.61 45.17 50.43 5035 +5.18 +8.00 +11.46 335M 1 361.85 1_390-00 1 403.09 _1 +41.24, +20.00, +11.40 7 9 0

0 '3] 30 0 .46 .40

If the House continues at this record pace in the remaining five appropriations bills and if both the Senate and President approve, spending will rise by nearly $75 billion over similar fiscal year 1990 levels. This dramatic increase is of particular concern because the 13 appropriations bills rep- resent only about 60 percent of all federal spending. When combined with the automatic increases in unappropriated entitlement programs such as Social Security as well as interest on the national debt, which comprise the remaining 40 percent of the budget, fiscal 1991 spending could top last year's levels by nearly $110. George Bush is partly to blame for this spending spree. He ignited it by bowing to pressure from Budget Director Richard Darman and Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady to agree to a budget sum- mit with Congressional leaders in which all issues, including taxes, were on the table. And taking the cue from Darman and Brady again, Bush threw open the floodgates on June 26 when he an- nounced that it was clear to him that "tax revenue increases" would be needed to bring the deficit in line. Smelling blood in the water, the liberal-dominated House of Representatives went on a feeding frenzy. It rejected proposals by some House members to reduce the rate of spending in- creases on the Agriculture appropriations bill and the Labor/HHS appropriations bill. It defeated eleven such amendments by wide margins. Six amendments that would have slowed spending across the board were offered by Republican representatives William Dannemeyer, from California, and Bill Frenzel, from Minnesota, in addition to Timothy Penny, the Minnesota Democrat. Ile House even rejected the symbolic amendment by Robert S. Walker, the Pennsylvania Republican; it would have trimmed the overall level of spending in the Agriculture bill by just $19.90 - a piddling 0.0000000002 percent.

Table 2 ($ bil ions for Fiscal Year) .. ... ........ .... ... .... ... ........... ... .. .. ................... . .......... .. .................................. ........... 199 ........... ... ........ .. ............ V ................ .......... .. ....... ..... ......... e .. .... . ............... .. ''Aphe . ... .. .. .............. ........... ........... ........ ............... ......... .............. .... .. ...... .................. ........ ..... .. ......... ..... .......... ... ........ .. .. ..... .................... . ............... ...... 1.--.-.1.-.-.-..1.-.%@ . ...... pyroys .. . . .. ............ .... ......... .... .. .................. ............. . ............. ........ ................ ...................... . .... . VID ..................................... ................................ 45.17 46.01 46.65 47.95 49.39 50.35 L'.." Wflft ...... 153.13 N/A 163.74 N/A 169.90 170.44 1. There were two amendments offered by Representative Penny to the Agriculture Bill. The first was an across-the-board 9.5 percent cut on the proposed 1991 appropriations, which was actually an amendment to Frenzel's 7.7 percent cut. This amendment contained an exemption to the cut, the Women and Infant Children program, which was not cut at all. 2. The Frenzel amendments were an across-the-board 7.7 percent cut on the Agriculture bill, and an across-the-board 15.2 percent cut on proposed HHS spending bill. This cut on the HHS bill amounts to only a little over 3 percent of the total bill when the unauthorized funds are added in. 3. The Dannemeyer amendment to the Agriculture bill was an across-the-board cut of 5 percent, but again, this percentage only would have an effect on discretionary spending. The percentage of the total bill was much less. 4. The second Penny amendment to the Agriculture bill was an across-the-board 2 percent cut. The Penny amendment to the HHS bill was also a 2 percent across-the-board cut, but it excluded certain programs such as Chapter 1 Compensatory Education, Education for the Handicapped, and Higher Education.

Other amendments were offered to prevent spending increasing above fiscal 1990 levels on specific programs. Walker proposed four amendments to test the House's resolve for holding the line on spending increases. The first amendment would have prevented a $65,000 increase for the $4,935,000 Law School Clinical Experience program; the second would have prevented $10,000,000 from being spent on a new "Education Summit Follow-Up" study; the third would have prevented a $65,000 increase in the $3,806,000 Physician Payment Review Commission; and the fourth would

- --- - ----- - --- .

have prevented a $450,000 increase for the $7,550,000 United States Institute of Peace. As could have been expected by that time, all of these proposed cuts were defeated. Lastly, an amendment offered by Representative George Nfiller, the California Democrat, would have reduced salaries and expenses in the Department of Labor by $2 million, reduced funds for general departmental management in the Department of Health and Human Services by $2.8 mil- lion, and cut by $2 million funds for program administration in the Department of Education. This too was defeated. The result: the entire measly $6.8 million in cuts was defeated. Congress went "hog wild" when George Bush was convinced by Richard Darman and Nicholas Brady to betray the "no-new-tax" pledge and put the issue of "new tax revenues" on the budget summit table.The House is now on track to spend any new taxes before the money even reaches the Treasury. This follows the decades-old pattern of Congress spending $1.50 for each new dollar of taxes collected. If Bush needs any more evidence of how Congress will never use a tax increase toward deficit reduction, he need look no further than how the House of Representatives reacted when he put taxes "on the table." Scott A. Hodge Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Budgetary Affairs

Heritage Foundation research interns Angela J. Hulsey, Geoffrey Manne, and Matt Rawlinson assisted in the preparation of this study. APPENDIX

Rural Development, Agriculture, and Related Agencies The appropriations levels in the 1991 Rural Development/Agriculture bill are 11.46 percent, or $5.2 billion, higher than fiscal 1990 levels. The big gainers in the bill are Agriculture programs, in- creased by $846.7 million; Rural Development Programs, increased by $1.43 billion; and, Domestic Food Programs, increased by $2.77 billion. Of the thirteen appropriations bills, the agriculture appropriations bill is by far laden with the most pork barrel projects. There is not a county in the nation that does not in some fashion benefit from this bill, and nearly every university in the nation receives "research" funds from this bill. Con- gress should begin trimming the fat from this bill by looking at the following programs:

Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service: $54,400,000 National Agricultural Statistics Service: $76,451,000 World Agricultural Outlook Board: $2,196,000 Advisory Committees: $1,407,000 Examples: National Advisory Council on Commodity Distribution: $81,428 National Arboretum Advisory Council: $13,654 Committee of Nine: $39,300 Federal Grain Inspection Service Advisory Committee: $65,586 Nat.Ad.Comm. on Microbiological Qual.Standards for Food: $50,252 Advisory Comm. on Foreign Animal and Poultry Diseases: $26,503 National Advisory Committee on Animal Damage Control: $38,950 Scrappie Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee: $45,220

Agricultural Research Service: $633,708,000 Examples: Plant germ plasma: $30,304,000 Plant genome research: $3,773,000 Narcotic plants: $6,484,000 Animal germ plasma: $6,501,000 Renovation of the Beltsville Agriculture Research center: $7,250,000 Dwarf bunt research: $130,000 Potato scab research: $190,000 Hawaii fruit fly research: $2,667,000 National Sedimentation Uboratory: $44,891,000 Kenaf- $1,106,000 Soybean-based ink: $426,000 Aflatoxin research: $5,849,000 Turkey ostemyelitis: $200,000

Agricultural Research Service Buildings and Facilities: $26,039,000 Examples: National Seed Storage Lab, CO: $2,000,000 Salinity Lab, Riverside, CA: $5,050,000 Plant Stress Lab, Texas Tech, TX $600,000 National Animal Disease Center, Incinerator, Ames, IA (post mortern facility): $300,000

Special Research Grants: $56,909,000 Examples: Cool season legume research (LA, WA): $250,000 Animal waste disposal (MI): $75,000 Blueberry shoestring virus (MI): $92,000 Broom snakeweed (NM): $150,000 Grasshopper biocontrol (ND): $71,000 Nematode resistance through genetic engineering (NM): $150,000

Cooperative state research service buildings and facilities at over thirty U.S. universities: $45,361,000 Packers and Stockyard Administration: $10,687,000 Rural water and waste disposal grants: $300,000,000 Delta Commission (proposal for prison expansion in the Mississippi delta): $50,000 Rural Electrification Administration Budget authority: $266,603,000 Loan authorization: $1,794,375,000

River basin surveys and investigations: $12,783,000 Great Plains Conservation Program: $24,637,000 Foreign Agricultural Service: $105,048,000 Ameri Flora '92 Exposition: $500,000 Departments of Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies The House has appropriated $17.31 billion more for 1991 in Labor/HHS bill than in 1990, an in- crease of 11.3 percent; and $30 billion more than in 1989, an increase of 21.42 percent. The big win- ners in this bill are the Department of Health and Human Services with an increase of $13.23 bil- lion, and the Department of Education with an increase of $3.0 billion. Specifically, the failed Job Corps will receive an additional $101 million in fiscal 1991, and the National Institute of Health's budget will increase by $1.04 billion. While the appropriations committee reports that $126 billion, or 74 percent, of this bill's total ap- propriations is dedicated toward entitlement programs, Congress should look seriously at reform- ing or terminating the following discretionary programs:

Department of Labor Job Training Partnership Act: $4,210,687,000 Community Service Employment for Older Americans: $400,000,000 Employment Standards Administration: Salaries and expenses: $222,388,000 Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act: $1,016,000

Occupational Safety and Health Administration: $291,243,000 Mine Safety and Health Administation: $177,767,000 Bureau of Labor Statistics: $207,274,000 Assistant Secretary for Veterans Employment and Training: $172,03 1,000

Department of Health and Human Services

Health Resources and Services: $1,627,375,000 Examples: General Dentistry Residencies: $3,929,000 Physician Assistants Program: $4,789,000 Health Professions Data Analysis: $1,846,000 Geriatric Training and Research: $14,047,000 Native Hawaiian Health Care: $1,283,000 Nurse Practitioners: $13,432,000 Nurse Anesthetists:$1,130,000 Nurse Disadvantaged Assistance: $4,000,000 Organ Transplantation: $4,257,000 Rural Health Research: $4,380,000 Adult Health Care Demonstrations: $27,200,000 Centers of Disease Control: $997,701,000 Examples: Lead Poisoning Prevention: $8,000,000 Sexually Transmitted Diseases: $90,000,000 Injury Control Program: $25,000,000 Occupational Safety and Health: $87,020,000 Epidemic Services: $70,000,000

National Institutes of Health: $8,317,654,000 Examples: Dental Research: $134,000,000 Allergy and Infectious Diseases: $869,000,000 Environmental Health Sciences: $244,842,000 John E. Fogarty International Center: $18,682,000 President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports: $1,499,000 Health Care Financing Administration Research and Demonstration Projects: $69,000,000 Rural Hospital Transition Grant Program: $23,000,000 Social Security Administration Special Benefits for Disabled Coal Miners: $841,081,000

Department of Education Compensatory Eduction for the Disadvantaged: $6,225,250,000 Examples: Administrative Assistance to State Agencies: $60,000,000 Evaluation and Technical Assistance: $15,000,000 Rural Technical Assistance Centers: $4,500,000 Impact Aid: $800,000,000

School Improvements Programs: $1,474,745,000 Examples: National Diffusion Network: $14,000,000 Arts in Education: $4,500,000 Law-Related Education: $5,000,000 Blue Ribbon Schools Program: $900,000 Leadership in Education Administration: $3,845,000 Mid-career Teacher Training: $1,000,000 Fund for Innovation in Education: $25,000,000 Dropout Prevention Demonstration: $30,000,000 Education for Native Hawaiians: $6,400,000 Bilingual and Immigrant Education: $205,000,000

Student Financial Assistance: $6,777,000,000 Examples: Work-Study: $600,000,000 Income Contingent Loans: $10,000,000 State Student Incentive Grant: $60,000,000 (Loan Defaults: $2 billion)

Grant to Gallaudet University: $74,047,000 Higher Education: $763,616,000 Examples: Strengthening Developing Institutions: $87,500,000 Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universites: $87,500,000 Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions: $12,000,000 Innovative Projects for Community Services: $1,481,000 International Education and Foreign Language Studies: $46,000,000 Law School Clinical Experience: $5,000,000 Interest Subsidy Grants: $20,900,000

Grant to Howard University: $200,036,000 Grant to Howard University Hospital: $29,000,000 College Housing and Academic Facilities Loans: $38,449,000

Independent Agencies Corporation for Public Broadcasting: $259,565,000 Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service: $27,705,000 National Mediation Board: $6,675,000 United States Institute of Peace: $8,000,0000


Scott Hodge

Bradley Fellow in Education Policy