Appropriators approve 2012 spending levels

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Dicks also said that the Energy and Water bill is slashed by $1 billion, and said this could aggravate flooding in the Mississippi River valve.

He noted the disaster wrought by Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans in 2005 due in part to faulty levees.

“We continue down that path having learned nothing,” he said. 

The labor and health cuts will bring that bill down to 2004 levels, which can only be accomplished by slashing Pell Grants for college student and the Head Start program, he said.

Chairman emeritus Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) shot back that the cuts have been made by carefully examining funds and said that the 2009 stimulus bill had been “almost a disaster” because of the way money was rushed out the door.

“You don't find solution by throwing money against the wall,” said Lewis, who in previous Congresses was known as a champion of pork-barrel spending.

Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) said that Democrats need to wake up to the reality that “every dollar that this committee spends is borrowed” due to America's troubled finances. He reminded his colleague that confiscating all the wealth of top taxpayers still would not pay down the debt and that spending must be trimmed.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was the only member of the committee to say that the sub-allocations did not go far enough. He offered an amendment that would bring spending down to $978 billion next year, a cut of $41 billion more, as called for in the Republican Study Committee alternative budget. That amendment was defeated on voice vote.

Flake later voted against Chairman Hal Rogers's (R-Ky.) spending levels.

Later Tuesday, the committee will vote on bills funding homeland security and military construction. The Agriculture subcommittee will vote on an agriculture bill that also slashes funding for commodity regulators.