Bush's buget outlines goals for fiscal ‘07
The process of establishing spending levels and preparing the appropriations bills for the federal government officially began last Monday when President Bush sent his budget proposal for the 2007 fiscal year to Congress.
The House of Representatives will now begin the challenging phase of trying to meet the budget priorities of our country while at the same time keeping discretionary spending low and working toward elimination of the federal deficit.
The budget submitted by the president is only a proposal outlining his fiscal goals for the next year. From this point, members of Congress will be working to draft their own version of the budget which may or may not represent the same goals of the administration.
The president's budget proposal contains some ambitious goals, all of which are intended to continue the efforts to control spending and reduce the deficit.
In its present form, the FY 2007 budget calls for a reduction of 0.5 percent in non-security spending which is a significant reduction from the 3.9 percent growth rate of the past five-year period.
The budget focuses our resources on national priorities like the war on terrorism, health care, energy costs, education, transportation and the environment.
Additionally, defense spending will increase by nearly 7 percent. The budget also provides resources to strengthen our borders with funding for 1,500 new border patrol agents, 6,000 new detention beds, 560 detention and removal personnel and 257 attorneys to expedite the removal of illegal immigrants.
Nearly every federal agency, sub-agency and government-funded program is included in this budget proposal, and to try and go into detail on everything it includes would be nearly impossible.
I look forward to working with the administration as we in Congress begin to write this year's budget. We will take a very careful look at every aspect of the president's budget, and there will be numerous hearings held in the weeks ahead.
In fact, the Budget Committee, on which I serve, has already held its first hearing. Last week, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Joshua Bolten gave testimony justifying the president's fiscal objectives for the coming year.
We are still early in this process, and a great deal of work remains before this year's budget process is brought to an end.
I strongly believe that more than anything else, the one thing we in Congress can do for our constituents as effective stewards of the money you send to Washington is to be fiscally responsible, cut wasteful spending and take a second look at unsuccessful programs.
The path we take to the elimination of deficit spending is a long one, and I don't think anyone will tell you that achieving that goal will be easy.
I assure you that as your representative in Washington, I will continue to do all I can to ensure we balance the needs of the American people and the government's legitimate obligations with maintaining a strong level of fiscal responsibility.
2007 Farm Bill Field Hearing
The House Committee on Agriculture, led by Chairman Bob Goodlatte, convened a field hearing last week seeking producer input on the upcoming 2007 Farm Bill. The hearing was the second in a series that the committee plans to conduct around the country this year.
Congressman Mike Rogers hosted the hearing, located in his district on the campus of Auburn University. I, along with Congressman Terry Everett and 11 other House Agriculture Committee members, was pleased to join him for this event.
Over a three-hour period, we heard from two panels of witnesses regarding a variety of farm policy issues and what modifications should be made to the current farm bill.
I am pleased that my recommendation to be a panelist, James Harwell, president of the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association, was allowed to testify. Given our recent devastating hurricanes, it is vitally important that we assist our nursery industry in the 2007 Farm Bill.
Currently, nurseries are not eligible to receive assistance through the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). It is my sincere hope that nurseries will be eligible under TAP in the upcoming farm bill, and I expressed this concern to the committee and other panelists during my allotted time for questions and comments.
My staff and I work for you. Please call if we can be of service.
Jo Bonner represents the people of this area in the U.S. H ouse of Representatives.