April 23, 2010

Budget Committee Passes Whitehouse Amendments to Budget Resolution

Washington, D.C. – As the U.S. Senate Budget Committee prepared to submit a budget for consideration by the full Senate, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) successfully offered three amendments to address the recent Rhode Island floods, our national debt, and campaign finance abuses by corporations.

“As a Member of the Budget Committee, I’m honored to have the opportunity to help craft a budget that includes the priorities of Rhode Islanders,” said Whitehouse.

The first amendment Whitehouse offered would expand Chairman Kent Conrad’s (D-ND) infrastructure reserve fund to include measures that would modernize and repair dams and measures that would prevent and mitigate flood damage. The reserve fund does not allocate any money directly, but creates procedural flexibility to help pass legislation to address flooding.

The next amendment that Whitehouse offered would require the disclosure of our national debt more clearly through the budget process. Whitehouse’s amendment would provide historical information on our national deficits, so that the public can see how our debt has grown over time. During the Budget Committee’s markup, Whitehouse highlighted that the Clinton Administration left a decade of projected surpluses – enough to completely wipe out the national debt by 2009. During the Bush Administration, however, tax cuts for the wealthy and a war in Iraq that was not paid for helped wiped out the surpluses and added trillions to the national debt.

Whitehouse also offered an amendment to address the opportunities for abuse made possible by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which gave corporations unfettered ability to influence elections. The Whitehouse amendment would give Congress more flexibility to increase the oversight of corporations as they begin to pour money into campaign ads.


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