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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., a senior member of the Senate Budget Committee, acknowledged the tough choices presented by President Bush’s Fiscal 2007 budget request, but Enzi committed to working with colleagues to review and strengthen budgeting to benefit Wyoming and the nation.

“We must ensure, with proper oversight, that government programs are cost efficient, accountable for their results and that taxpayer money is being properly utilized by eliminating waste and fraud,” Enzi said. “Our goal is to keep what works and fix what doesn’t.

“The budget is a critical tool that can be used to rein in government spending and expansion while reducing the financial burden on future generations,” said Enzi, who also is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “However, we also will strengthen and protect programs that help Americans receive a quality education, ensure long-term competitiveness, provide affordable, accessible healthcare and strengthen pension rules while expanding retirement savings opportunities for working people.

“Healthcare, national parks, public lands, agriculture and giving our kids the lifelong education they need to compete in the world are important to all of us and we need to pay more attention to how we are spending in these and all areas rather than just how much."

Enzi cautioned that the President’s budget request is only the first step in a long process that undoubtedly will draw criticism from special interests hoping to spread panic over specific programs targeted by proposed cuts.

“I urge folks to remember that this is not the stage for panic and not the stage for a war of words about motives behind specific items in the President’s budget request,” he said. “For now, we need to stay focused on whether we will exercise fiscal responsibility or add to the burden of our children and grandchildren.”

The Budget Committees in the Senate and the House will take into account the President’s ideas, but they will make their own decisions when they set limits on total spending under broad categories of the budget. Decisions on specific programs will be made by authorizing committees of jurisdiction and the appropriations committees.

Enzi is working with colleagues on new legislation designed to change the whole federal spending system so that emergency spending will be anticipated, spending deadlines will be met and there will be more time for oversight of how the money is being used.