House is cutting committee budgets — some more than others

Some House committees will be hit harder financially than others under legislation passed Wednesday to cut their budgets in 2012.
 
The resolution, introduced last December by Committee on House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), calls for House committees to take a 6.4 percent funding cut on average.
 

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This is in addition to a 5 percent budget cut committees faced in January 2011 at the beginning of the 112th Congress.
 
The newest budget cuts were not evenly dispersed across committees, however, as the House Administration Committee itself, along with Small Business and Science, Space and Technology saw significantly greater cutbacks.
 
The House Administration Committee will “lead by example,” according to a committee staffer, taking a 7.1 percent funding cut. This will result in nearly $400k less in funding compared with the committee’s original 2012 budget authorization.
 
The House Small Business Committee will face a similar funding shortfall, enduring a 7.5 percent cut — $275k less than originally planned.
 
But the big loser by far was the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which took a whopping 10.1 percent funding cut. That means nearly $675k less for the committee in 2012.
 
Other committees were spared the funding guillotine.
 
The House Committee on Armed Services skated by with a relatively low 2 percent cut, just $150k less than originally authorized in the 2012 budget.
 
In November, Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) warned that any significant cuts beyond those they were already facing could mean staff layoffs.
 
Approximately 98 percent of the committee’s budget went to payroll, he testified before the House Administration Committee on Nov. 30. 

If his committee was hit with the full 6.4 percent cut, “the only way to achieve budget compliance would be to reduce our workforce,” McKeon said.



Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) also said at the time that the specter of sequestration — due to the congressional supercommittee’s failure to reach an agreement to cut the federal deficit — had resulted in far greater work for the Armed Services Committee that further funding cuts could jeopardize.
 
By far the biggest winner of the resolution was the Ethics Committee, which not only avoided a steep cut but managed to see a budget increase. The committee was granted an additional 11.5 percent in funding, meaning nearly $350k more for the committee this year.
 
The Ethics Committee has been very busy of late, including investigating the dealings of nearly a dozen GOP lawmakers for allegations ranging from accepting illegal campaign donations to not disclosing owed child support payments.