Obama's 2012 Budget Worries Conservatives, Faith-Based Groups

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By Stephanie Samuel, Christian Post Reporter
February 15, 2011|8:30 pm

Fiscal conservatives and faith-based public policy organizations were distressed by President Obama’s 2012 spending proposal, which they say does not do enough to cut the national debt.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) responded Tuesday to President Obama's 2012 fiscal year budget, warning it would kill jobs and force the United States to borrow more money from China.

"His budget calls for more failed stimulus spending and job-crushing tax hikes on families and small businesses," Boehner warned.

Social conservative group Family Research Council agreed with Boehner's assessment.

"At a time when America needs to be making tough choices, this president is asking for even more money for pet projects," read the Washington-based group’s blog.

President Obama's projected 2012 fiscal year budget is a $3.7 trillion proposal that includes $147.9 billion for research and development.

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An increased amount of federal funds would be funneled into energy, science, education and commerce. Meanwhile, cuts would be made to the departments of Defense and Interior, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agencys, and National Institutes of Health.

Still, there are plenty for fiscal conservatives, who are in favor of small government, to be upset about.

Obama's proposal doubles the budgets of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science as well as that of governmental agencies the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The Department of Education is also slated to receive a 33.5 percent increase.

Obama highlighted the future in the science and engineering fields by pointing to Parkville Middle School & Center of Technology in Baltimore County, Md., which . boasts a state-of-the-art technology center and offers environmental classes.

"We want the kind of success that we're seeing at this school [to] spread all across the country," he said in the school cafeteria on Monday. "That requires we make investments in great teachers and good equipment and labs and in the Internet."

But Boehner countered, "The president's budget isn't winning the future, it’s spending the future."

Boehner referred to a Feb. 13 letter signed by 150 U.S. economists that argue against further government spending. The economists' statement expresses that they are seeking a change in direction from the current stimulus spending.

"Action is needed now to begin to slow government spending, reduce uncertainty and support the creation of new private-sector jobs," the letter states.

The economists, however, did not give an exact figure as to how much to slow down spending.

Boehner said he is working with House Republicans to stop the government's "spending binge."

"This week, we will go beyond our Pledge to America and cut at least $100 billion in discretionary spending over the next seven months by comparison to the president's FY11 budget request, rather than doing so over the course of a full fiscal year."

FRC praised the GOP's effort to get down to the "$100 billion mark."

The proposed casualties of the cuts include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps), Legal Services Corporation and Title X programs.

While fiscal conservatives are encouraged by the GOP's commitment to deeper cuts in government, others are alarmed by where the cuts will be made.

Faith-based global aid group World Vision is urging Congress members to reconsider proposed cuts to U.S. food aid and overseas disaster response programs. They say proposed cuts would slash 41 percent from federal food aid programs' budgets and 67 percent from the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance funding.

"These cuts represent modest overall savings compared with the other areas of the national budget and would cripple America's ability to carry out its foreign policy objectives through humanitarian and development assistance," lamented World Vision's Vice President of Advocacy Adam Taylor.

Developmental assistance programs would be cut by 30 percent, and global health and childhood survival programs would be cut by 15 percent.

The Catholic Relief Services and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to Congress yesterday reminding lawmakers that the cuts "are significant moral choices."

"Shared sacrifice is one thing; it is another to make disproportionate cuts in programs that serve the most vulnerable," contend Bishop Howard J. Hubbard and Ken Hackett in the letter.

 

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