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Idaho priorities need to be reflected in FY 2008 budget resolution

Washington, DC â?? With more than 2,100 pages, the Presidentâ??s Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 budget proposal was delivered to Capitol Hill today. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, will be involved all month in committee hearings on various aspects of the budget. Building on successful efforts to cut the deficit in half over the last three years, this yearâ??s budget projects a $61 billion surplus in 2012.â??Over the next few weeks, the Budget Committee will be looking very closely at the proposed budget,â?? Crapo said. â??The Presidentâ??s budget submission signals the beginning of several months of intense planning and negotiations regarding the federal spending plan for the coming fiscal year. Congress now must determine how best to support the goal of balancing the budget by 2012 as well as keeping the pro-growth tax policies that have provided the foundation for sustained economic growth and job creation. We will need to ensure that spending restraint is exercised and that we do not fall back on ill-advised tax increases and more spending. Congress has to address the long-term challenges posed by mandatory spending in programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.â??â??As I review the budget and participate in the hearings over the next few weeks, Idaho priorities will also be foremost for me,â?? Crapo said. â??This budget needs to ensure that we address the needs of our military troops as well as veterans. It also needs to strongly support nuclear energy programs, particularly research and development funds for the Idaho National Laboratory. The budget should maintain important federal funding for crime victims. It should take steps to make certain that our public education system keeps our students competitive in key math and science areas, and that students who want to pursue a college degree can afford to do so. With the new farm bill on the horizon, the budget also needs to provide sufficient funding for reauthorization and accommodating new initiatives for agriculture. I will continue to carefully review the budget and work with my colleagues to ensure that the federal government funds are being appropriately and fairly distributed.â?? The Senate Budget Committee sets spending priorities for the upcoming year, and evaluates the projected economic impact of those expenditures. The Senate Appropriations Committee then follows through with decisions on what will be spent on specific programs, within the limits set by the Budget Committee.