December 18, 2007

CRAPO OPPOSES CATCH-ALL SPENDING BILL

Votes "on principle" against lengthy last-minute legislation

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo tonight voted against S. 2754, the State, Foreign Operations Appropriation Act, saying the vote is "on principle" to protest a rushed, wrong and irresponsible way to fund the federal government. Crapo noted the measure is one of the most expensive and largest bills to come before the Senate and was being rushed through to a vote in less than 48 hours. The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 76 to 17, with one Senator voting "present."

Crapo said it is obvious to all taxpayers that the Senate has not allowed for the time to adequately review the contents of a bill running more than 3,400 pages. He said even a cursory review shows the legislation contains language which reduces our commitment to secure our borders and contains budget maneuvers and emergency designations to run spending billions of dollars above agreed levels while critical Idaho initiatives such as fighting methamphetamine and domestic violence are cut. Crapo, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said Congress must allow for a more careful spending process:

"Shouldn't we be able to cast an informed vote on one of the largest spending bills ever? H.R. 2764 is a sad testament to Congress's inability to draft and pass responsible federal funding legislation. I'm very disappointed that critical funding for drug abuse education efforts, crime victims and, more specifically, victims of domestic violence has been stripped from this bill.

"Idaho will lose more than ten percent of Victims of Crime Act Funding, money, incidentally, which is paid by perpetrators of crime, not American taxpayers. We are going backward, not forward, with preventative efforts to stop domestic violence. Furthermore, funding for programs that help victims of sexual assault in 15 cities in Idaho and a program that has helped thousands of Idaho schoolchildren learn of the dangers of Internet predators was eliminated during the conference process on this omnibus spending bill.

"Justice Assistance Grants have been significantly reduced. The Office of National Drug Control Policy Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign was significantly cut, which jeopardizes important anti-drug and, particularly anti-meth education efforts for Idaho's youth. Although I have supported many, many projects in this bill, in my view, victims of domestic violence and our at-risk youth are the clear losers in this legislation. Because of these shortfalls and my overall distaste for the rush behind this effort, I have to vote against the bill."