The House of Representatives Cuts, Cuts, and Cuts Again toward the FY2012 Budget

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June 23, 2011; Source: MarketWatch | It’s that time of year again when appropriations decisions of subcommittees and the full House pour out, gouging nonprofits and the public alike.  The NPQ Newswire will try to catch as many as look very relevant to the nonprofit sector, but we hope Newswire readers will tip us off on what they are seeing and hearing as impending budget cuts that will affect them, their operations, and their constituencies and clients.  We’ve spotted a few that are troubling:

·         Internal Revenue Service:  The House Appropriations Committee cut the budget of the IRS by $600 million from its FY2011 level.  For nonprofits, it likely means that IRS resources for nonprofit oversight and enforcement activities might be in short supply.

·         District of Columbia:  The appropriations bill for DC continues the ban on DC’s use of any federal money for abortions, but also includes language that prevents the District from using locally-generated tax revenues to pay for abortions either.  Did someone say that the District of Columbia is still a colony of the federal government?

·         Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:  If you don’t like the program, rather than overturning the legislation that created it, just starve it of sustenance.  The House Appropriations Committee just capped funding for the CFPB at less than half of the agency’s real need — $200 million instead of 500 million. 

·         Community Development Financial Institutions:  The Committee gave the Treasury Department’s CDFI program $183 million, $54 million less than the $227 million that President Obama’s nearly forgotten FY2012 budget called for.  That makes sense to someone, but it’s unclear who, since CDFIs maintained their lending to poor neighborhoods while TARP-subsidized banks largely closed down their lending spigots. 

·         Women, Infants, Children:  The WIC nutrition program was cut by $600 million in the Agriculture spending bill that was narrowly passed by the House of Representatives.  That speaks for itself.

Think of the Appropriations decisions coming from the House as a long term soap opera, sort of the public policy version of “Guiding Light” or “Days of Our Lives”.  There are more episodes to be aired on the NPQ Newswire. —Rick Cohen