Oct. 1, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Broun’s Budget by 1,000 Cuts

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Rather than seeking sweeping budget cuts, Rep. Paul Broun is offering appropriations amendments targeting specific line-items in the federal budget.

"Many of the programs I have proposed cutting or eliminating are wasteful, do not serve their original purpose, and have grown exponentially in cost over the years to the point where we can no longer afford them," Broun said in a statement issued last week.

But, while Broun saw nutrition and research programs as an opportunity for savings, it was a tough idea to sell to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

"We're in the worst recession since the Great Depression," said Ryan Nickel, a Democratic aide on the House Appropriations Committee. "How is a program that already has to turn away 350,000 low-income women and children an 'opportunity' for further cuts?"

In the end, only one of Broun's amendments was approved: a proposal to trim the Homeland Security Department's $6 million legislative affairs budget by $600,000.

Broun, a conservative elected in 2007 who regularly accuses President Barack Obama of being a socialist, ultimately voted against the final bill to fund the Agriculture Department just as he did for the other spending bills passed this year Homeland Security as well as military construction and Veterans Affairs because they were too expensive.

Broun, who famously live-tweeted his reactions to Obama's 2011 State of the Union address from the comfort of his Congressional office, has garnered publicity and raised eyebrows for his legislative and political antics. He has introduced a bill to ban sales of Playboy and Penthouse magazines at military bases, and he took part in a religious ceremony to anoint with oil the Capitol passageway that Obama walked through on his way to take the presidential oath of office.

Jennifer Hing, a Republican aide on the House Appropriations Committee, said Broun's long list of amendments was no surprise after the budget extensions this winter.

The short-term funding resolution passed in February was also considered under the open-rule process, with more than 600 amendments offered and several Members proposing dozens of changes.

The Defense as well as Energy and water appropriations bills are likely the next spending measures the House will consider. And Broun is primed to look for more pockets of savings.

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