House GOP Calls for Federal Spending Freeze

Monday, February 23, 2009 11:20 PM

House GOP leaders wrote to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer Monday asking them to consider imposing a federal spending freeze on the unfinished 2009 budget.

In the letter, the GOP leadership team calls for a freeze "at a time of record deficits."

A freeze, they write, "could ensure that essential government functions are carried out without any cuts while still protecting taxpayers from spending increases during a time of economic hardship."

President Bush and Congress never finished all of last year's spending bills for fiscal year 2009. Because of that, government spending is currently frozen at the previous year's levels.

Congress is poised later this week to approve a $410 billion omnibus spending bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Oct. 1.

Pelosi called the omnibus bill "unfinished business of last year when the president refused to address the priorities of the country."

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence, R-Ind., called that bill "the largest increase in discretionary spending since the Carter administration." He added that he'd be happy to allow the government to continue to run at last year's levels.

Pence noted, however, that the GOP has two "non-negotiables" on the budget -- funding cuts for troops and tax increases. ... 84826.html