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Budget Committee Democrats Unanimously Condemn Republican Refusal to Hold Hearing on President's Budget

Feb 8, 2016

First time in 40 years that President's Budget is not getting a hearing

Washington, DC – Today Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, and every Democratic member of the Committee sent a letter to Chairman Tom Price unanimously condemning his refusal to hold a hearing on the President's FY 2017 Budget. Last week, Republicans announced they'd break longstanding regular order and reject the President's budget - sight unseen - because his past budgets haven't adhered to the Tea Party's harmful priorities like slashing social safety net programs, threatening Social Security, and protecting special interest tax loopholes.

"This choice is more than just a rejection of the House Budget Committee's longstanding, bipartisan tradition; it is disrespectful to the Committee members, the public and the President," the Members wrote in a letter to House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price. "We urge you to rethink your choice, and to ensure that the Committee lives up to its responsibilities to our members, this Congress and the American people."

The full text of the letter is below:

 

Dear Chairman Price:

We are appalled at your decision refusing to hold a hearing where the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) presents the President's fiscal year 2017 budget.  This choice is more than just a rejection of the House Budget Committee's longstanding, bipartisan tradition; it is disrespectful to the Committee members, the public and the President.

You deem the President's budget unworthy of review – sight unseen – because past Administration budgets have rejected the Tea Party agenda.  Indeed, the President's budgets embody starkly different priorities than recent Republican budgets that disinvest in America, privatize Medicare, hurt the middle class, slash social safety net programs like Medicaid, threaten retirement security, protect special interest tax loopholes for the ultra-wealthy, and use gimmicky accounting tricks to falsely claim balance.  

Every year since 1975, the Budget Committee has held a hearing on the President's budget with a high-level witness representing OMB.  That hearing provides Members of Congress their first opportunity to examine the breadth of the President's request.  While other committees may hold later hearings that focus on specific aspects of the Administration's request, the Budget Committee is the only one that also looks at its overall budgetary impact.

In fact, at the start of the 114th Congress the Majority of the Committee approved an oversight plan that states its intention to hold hearings with both the OMB Director and the Treasury Secretary on the President's fiscal year 2017 budget.  That oversight plan also states that "In the process of developing the annual concurrent budget resolution, the Committee will hold  hearings and receive testimony from Members of Congress, Cabinet-level and other Federal officials, State and local officials, and expert witnesses to review the budget and economic outlook, the President's budget submissions and other budget proposals." 

We urge you to rethink your choice, and to ensure that the Committee lives up to its responsibilities to our members, this Congress and the American people. 

 

Sincerely,

Chris Van Hollen (MD-08), Ranking Member

John Yarmuth (KY-03)

Bill Pascrell (NJ-09)

Tim Ryan (OH-13)

Gwen Moore (WI-04)

Kathy Castor (FL-11)

Jim McDermott (WA-07)

Barbara Lee (CA-13)

Mark Pocan (WI-02)

Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01)

Debbie Dingell (MI-12)

Ted Lieu (CA-33)

Donald Norcross (NJ-01)

Seth Moulton (MA-06)