As a fiscal conservative I appreciate the efforts of the Bush Administration to reign in Government spending. Each program in the federal budget must undergo careful scrutiny with an eye toward less spending as opposed to more spending. Certainly, the Corps budget is no exception and it would appear that the administration has done just that with this budget request. While I will reserve judgement on the appropriate funding level for the FY 2002 Corps Civil Works program until after I have heard from our witnesses, I will admit to some concerns with the amount. A 14% decrease over FY 2001 enacted levels appears to me to be unrealistic given the existing backlog.
This is especially true when we consider the flooding that is taking place right now along the Mississippi River in the mid-west. The proposed request would cut flood control along the Mississippi River by 20% from FY 2001 enacted levels and is 10% less than the FY 2001 requested level. I recognize that Congress has a habit of increasing the level of funding for the Corps program above the President's request and suspect that this year it will be no different . . . perhaps that is part of the calculation when developing the budget request. My concern is that it is this type of "gamesmanship" that results in unnecessary spending. I believe it would be far better for Congress to be presented with a realistic budget request up front then one subject to endless upward revisions. In short, you are making it too easy for us to spend more money because it would appear you have sent us a request that does not meet the need. I hope I am wrong and have merely misunderstood your proposal.
With that said, I am anxious to hear the explanation of our witnesses of the FY 2002 budget request.