For Immediate Release
US PIRG Urges Senate to Cut Special Interest Giveaways, Not Public Priorities
WASHINGTON - The spending resolution passed late last month by the U.S. House of Representatives makes several deep cuts to public priorities while largely leaving in place wasteful subsidies and tax loopholes for special interests, as detailed in a new comparison chart released today by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
The House, for instance, cut $2 billion from a fund to protect clean drinking water and $88 million in funding for food safety inspectors, but left untouched nearly $4 billion in subsidies for the oil and gas industry and a $200 million-a-year program that funds overseas advertising for profitable industries and their trade associations.
“Tough choices are supposed come only after the easy ones,” said U.S. PIRG Federal Legislative Office Director Gary Kalman. “It’s difficult to imagine how cuts to Pell Grants, food safety, and clean drinking water come before subsidies for oil companies, the fast food industry, and underwear manufacturers. And yet, that’s exactly what the House resolution does.”
U.S PIRG compared the spending cuts in the House budget resolution and President Obama’s budget proposal to a report that the group jointly produced with the National Taxpayer’s Union. The report, Toward Common Ground: Bridging the Political Divide to Reduce Federal Spending, identified $600 billion in spending reductions over 5 years that have support across the political spectrum. The spending reductions detailed in the report amount to more than the reductions called for in the House-passed resolution.
“The waste identified in the Common Ground report should be low-hanging fruit,” Kalman said. “Rather than preparing for a partisan brawl in the Senate, why not start where we might find some agreement?”
As the U.S. Senate began negotiations to stave off a potential federal government shutdown, U.S. PIRG sent a letter urging leadership to reject the House blueprint and start with cuts to programs that that do not serve the public interest.
The comparison chart can be found here.
The Toward Common Ground Report can be found here.
U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.