December 20, 2011
200 Smith Street, Apt. 410
Sheridan, Wyoming 82801-3842
Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding the federal budget and your federal spending priorities. It is good to hear from you. I appreciate your views on specific federal spending levels and will keep them in mind as Congress works to complete the budget.
Under the new Republican Majority in the House of Representatives, my Republican colleagues have selected me to serve on the House Committee on Appropriations. This committee sets specific federal expenditures for government agencies and departments. When I am home in Wyoming, the top concern I hear about is out-of-control federal spending.
In my first term of Congress, President Obama and the Democrat-led Congress increased non-defense discretionary spending by 84 percent. One of the first orders of business for House Republicans has been returning our discretionary spending levels to the pre-Obama, pre-stimulus levels of 2008. The Fiscal Year 2011 budget deal took a step in the right direction with the near $40 billion in cuts, the largest single discretionary decrease in history.
The House is considering the Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations bills with an additional $30 billion in cuts over last year. However, the current continuing resolution, lasting until December 16th, 2011, has raised those levels $24 billion above the House-passed budget. This measure also included full year appropriations for the Agriculture; Commerce, Justice and Science; and Transportation - Housing and Urban Development agencies. While I voted against raising the level of discretionary spending and will continue to support the lower levels moving forward, I was pleased to get back to the open process and conference committees on appropriations bills.
These cuts required tough decisions and will mean less hard-earned taxpayer dollars for federal programs across America. But I am ready to tackle these decisions because Wyoming sent me to Washington to restore fiscal discipline. Our government is broke. We need to cut up the credit card in order to eliminate the threat America's debt poses to the future of our country. For the well-being of our country, I intend to fight for a new culture in Washington of saving more and spending less.
To this end, I have not requested a single earmark since taking office. My Republican colleagues in the House have decided to follow suit by banning earmarks. House Republicans have also cut the operating budget for Members of Congress by five percent. These steps do not save a large amount of money in the grand scheme of things, but they are important first steps towards curing Washington's addiction to spending.
Not all federal spending is bad and I know there are federal programs of importance to the State of Wyoming. I will continue to rely heavily on the input and insight of Wyoming citizens to help me understand the impact of specific federal programs in our State. Moreover, I am committed to adequately funding both our veterans and the uniformed men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. I will continue to analyze spending according to its costs and benefits for Wyoming's citizens, many of whom have expressed to me their frustration with runaway federal spending that threatens to bankrupt the Treasury for our children and grandchildren.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me. I value your input. If you haven't done so already, I would like to encourage you to visit my website at www.lummis.house.gov. There you can sign up to receive my newsletter, and have access to a wealth of other information. I won't flood your email box, but I will provide you with updates once in a while about activities in Washington that affect our lives in Wyoming. I hope you will sign up so that we can stay in close touch, and I look forward to seeing you in Wyoming.
Cynthia M. Lummis
Member of Congress