December 11, 2013
The budget agreement written and negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. and Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., looks a lot like many other budget deals negotiated behind closed doors, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. He said it increases spending and shows that one thing some Democrats and Republicans can agree on is putting off hard decisions.
“There are some good ideas in this budget. We shouldn’t be paying prison inmates improper benefits. We should get some unobligated account balances off the books. However, these are things we should do no matter what, along with so many other ‘waste, fraud and abuse’ measures. This budget deal is like so many others that put off hard decisions until much later. A dollar saved now is worth much more than any ‘saved’ 10 years out,” said Enzi “This plan spends more than current law. It charges people and states more for things, such as pensions and uses the money to increase spending in non-related areas. Most spending cuts are scheduled for outlying years and the so called ‘savings’ are used up right away. It isn’t real.”
The Ryan-Murray plan would make permanent a provision instituted in 2008 that requires states to pay a two percent “administrative fee” to the federal government for the collection of mineral royalties. This continues a bad practice, according to Enzi.
“This only effects a few states, so negotiators and the Administration see it as an easy pot of money. I introduced legislation with Senator Barrasso, Representative Lummis and a bi-partisan group of legislators from effected states that would prevent this from happening. Wyoming is fully capable of collecting its share of mineral revenues without help from the federal government so we shouldn’t have to pay for that. We’ll continue working to reverse this unjust practice,” Enzi said.
Enzi said the so-called budget conference committee for all practical purposes did not exist. The agreement was the sole product of Ryan and Murray. Members of the committee learned the particulars of the deal at the same time as the public and were not part of the negotiations.
“This is a symptom of the abandonment of the committee process. Instead of representatives and senators offering constructive amendments and debating spending bills in public, a couple people and their staff sit in a room and then present a take-it-or-leave-it deal right before a holiday or manufactured crisis deadline,” Enzi said.
The Ryan-Murray budget deal will go straight to the House floor without a committee vote. If the House passes it, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is expected to block amendments in the Senate. President Obama has praised the agreement.