GOP Loses Taste for Cutting

October 18, 1996

GOP Loses Taste for Cutting

A report in today's Washington Post notes that while the Republican Congress came in like a lion two years ago attacking the federal bureaucracy, it went out like a lamb this year. Indeed, GOP lawmakers increased the budgets of some of the very agencies it pledged to destroy in 1994.

Three of the Republicans' biggest targets when they took control of Congress, the Energy Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, all earned budget increases this fall. Two other departments earmarked for elimination, Education and Commerce, are still standing.

Congress did cut the Bureau of Mines' helium program and eliminated the Food and Drug Administration's Tea Tasting Board. It also cut one of its own support agencies, the Office of Technology Assessment.

Legislators also made life more difficult for federal regulators by passing the Congressional Review Act, which requires agencies to submit any rules changes or new rules to Congress for a 60-day review period. Some on Capitol Hill are concerned that regulators may be able to dodge the law.

"We're fearful the agencies will just be able to ignore this law like it was never passed," one congressional staffer told the Post.

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