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Cochran, GOP committee members want spending freeze

WASHINGTON — Senate Appropriations Committee vice chairman Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and all Republican members of the committee have issued a letter stating they would only support FY2011 spending bills that essentially adhere to a non-defense discretionary spending freeze.

The letter to Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Daniel K. Inouye discusses the difficulties facing the committee without the passage of a FY2011 budget resolution, in addition to threats posed by a growing federal debt.

“We are expressing unanimity of support for adhering to a top-line spending level that acknowledges the fiscal problems facing our nation and simultaneously allows us to meet the nation’s needs. This is an idea that has previously received bipartisan support in the Senate, and we hope that Senators will stick to these funding parameters,” Cochran said.

“The Appropriations Committee has enjoyed a long tradition of bipartisan efforts to produce responsible appropriations bills that address the priorities of the members of this body. I have every hope that we will continue to operate in this manner. We simply cannot agree, however, to appropriations bills that will collectively result in further discretionary spending increases such as those proposed in the President’s budget and in the Democrats’ budget proposals.”

Republican members of the committee believe FY2011 appropriations bills should fit within the top-line spending limitations set in a plan previously proposed by Senators Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). The Senate has voted several times on the Sessions-McCaskill proposal, which would save an estimated $26 billion below the President’s budget request.

“We are confident that, working together, our committee can produce bills that responsibly address fundamental government needs in a fiscally responsible manner. We will not, however, be able to support appropriations bills that do not conform to this top-line number,” the letter states.

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