WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today supported a cost reducing measure offered by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would cut Rural Development appropriations by $1 billion under H.R. 2112, the so-called ‘minibus’ appropriations act that will fund Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and related agencies for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012. This amendment failed by a vote of 13-85.
“I supported this cost-saving amendment because we have a $1.3 trillion deficit, and without question, we need to cut spending,” said Inhofe. “Twenty percent of the Rural Development Agency’s funds provide drinking water and waste water treatment for rural communities. In cutting the agency’s budget by 40 percent, an unintended consequence would have been to reduce those programs that allow rural communities to meet unfunded federal mandates. I support the overall goal of the amendment to reduce federal spending on duplicative or unnecessary federal programs. However, I would have preferred a more tactical approach that did not include cutting important rural loans that are paid back to the federal government. Fortunately, the amendment would not have reduced the effectiveness of the Rural Electrification Loan Program, which provides low cost financing to many rural electric companies, including those in Oklahoma. I am disappointed that my Senate colleagues defeated this measure, rejecting another approach to rein in government spending.”