HHS budget must face cuts, congressional leader says

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 24, 2010

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House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey (D, Wis.) warned that the fiscal 2011 budget for the Depts. of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education will likely have to be cut to $3.5 billion below President Obama's $145 billion fiscal 2011 request.

Obey offered the warning at a May 12 House Appropriations subcommittee hearing during which representatives from 40 stakeholder organizations requested a combined total of approximately $14 billion in additional spending, according to Obey's estimate. He said the cuts would be necessary despite the fact that he agrees with nearly all of the requests for more funding.

Obey said Republicans and conservative Democrats are focused on reducing the federal deficit even though health, science and other spending face deficits of their own.

"That is one of the reasons why I am leaving Congress, because I am tired of producing bills that are inadequate to meet the needs of the country," said Obey, who announced on May 5 that he is not seeking re-election, after more than 40 years in Congress. "We are not going to be a great country if we recognize the cost of everything and the value of nothing."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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