By Peter Schroeder - 06/23/11 06:48 PM EDT
"This is exactly the type of short-term cut that will do much greater harm than good in the long term," said Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.).
"The big losers from these cuts are the U.S. taxpayers trying to comply with the law, who will get bigger deficits and worse services from the IRS," added Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the committee.
Republicans pushed back against those assertions, contending the package was full of tough compromises made in an effort to reduce the deficit.
"It's safe to say the subcommittee and its staff have ensured that we have found real and responsible savings wherever possible," said committee chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.).
Another common point of contention was a provision that would block $3 million for a new public database to be established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission where consumers could report problems with products. Republicans were critical of the database, arguing that there is no way to ensure what is posted is accurate and that the money could be put to better use elsewhere.
But Democrats accused Republicans of jumping the gun because the Government Accountability Office is currently studying the database. Any plan to cut its funding should wait for those results, they said.
Policy riders limiting the ability of the District of Columbia to fund abortions was also a subject of controversy, as were GOP attempts to tighten its grasp on the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The bureau, created by Dodd-Frank, has been hotly contested by Republicans, and the appropriations bill marked the latest attempt to bring it under closer scrutiny.
The package would subject the CFPB's budget to congressional appropriations beginning in 2013 — it currently receives its funding from the Federal Reserve. It also would cap the bureau's current funding at $200 million, which is less than half what it can currently receive from the Fed.
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) contended the appropriations bill represented a compromise between CFPB backers and opponents who wanted to see it eliminated.
"We have taken a more middle, down-the-road approach," she said, adding that $200 million is "a very generous amount given the fact that there is no director and no congressional oversight of its budget."
The Securities and Exchange Commission, another agency charged with implementing major parts of Dodd-Frank, would see its spending frozen at $1.2 billion, after the president requested a $222 million boost in his 2012 proposal.