Entries in house of representatives (3)


House Slashes Spending for Food Safety, Nutrition Programs

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- House Republicans narrowly passed a bill that makes significant cuts across the Department of Agriculture and related agencieS.  It is being chided by Democrats for making steep cuts to food safety and child nutrition programs.

The measure narrowly passed on a vote of 217-203 Thursday, with 19 Republicans joining all House Democrats voting against the legislation, which makes a 21 percent cut to the FDA’s budget totaling $572 million below the president’s request -- including $285 million or 12 percent just this year.

Democrats, including Rep. John Dingell -- the Dean of the House -- slammed Republicans for voting for the bill, charging that these deep cuts are “indefensible” and will severely undermine food safety efforts and increase the risk of food-borne illnesses.

“At a time when 30 people have been grossly sickened and died in Germany and 3,000 have been sickened, we are cutting Food and Drug's enforcement budget,” Dingell, D-Mich., said on the floor Wednesday. “Every year in the United States, 3,000 Americans are killed with bad food, 128,000 are hospitalized, 48 million are made sick. We have imported food that is causing all manner of difficulty: bad peanuts with salmonella, bad mushrooms, E. coli in peppers, melamine in dairy products, salmonella in eggs, bad shellfish and fish from China.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the bill also makes “foolish cuts” to nutrition programs for some of the most vulnerable Americans, including women, infants and children, or WIC, by about 10 percent -- slashing $650 million from the program, decreasing funding levels from $6.73 billion this year to $6.05 billion.

In total, the legislation approves $125.5 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding, a reduction of more than $7 billion from the president’s FY2012 request. The bill reduces discretionary spending by $2.7 billion from last year’s level -- a cut of more than $5 billion from the President’s request.

The legislation now heads to the Senate, where sources say it is unlikely to pass in its current form.

Rep. Jack Kingston, the Agriculture subcommittee chairman, praised the passage of the bill, noting that “as the Congress continues the battle to lower spending, cut waste and create jobs” lawmakers made tough votes in order to get the country on a fiscally sustainable path.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


John Boehner's Big Family: Blessing or Curse?

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Lynda Meineke said the worst part about growing up in a German-Irish family of 12 children was fighting for the one bathroom in their two-bedroom house in Reading, Ohio. She was lucky, one of three girls who got first dibs. But her brothers, including the GOP's next House Speaker John Boehner, often had to run into the woods or seek a drain in the basement.

Boehner, 61, credits his large family for the social and political skills he says he will need to soon lead the House of Representatives. But despite anecdotal evidence about having many siblings, experts say that research shows no measurable advantages to family size, although birth order can play a role in intelligence.

"The legend, according to people with 12 children, is that it's a good thing, and it usually is," said Toni Falbo, professor of educational psychology at the University of Texas in Austin. "If the parents are fully functioning, bright, capable and hard working, they kind of organize the children so the older ones are responsible for the younger ones, on down the line, and that can work to benefit the kids."

But a 2010 Ohio State University study published in Science Daily concluded that growing up without siblings doesn't seem to be a disadvantage for teenagers when it comes to social skills. Earlier studies had shown that kindergarteners with no brothers or sisters were slightly disadvantaged.

Birth order plays a larger role than family size," according to Falbo.

Because Boehner was second in line, "he had the opportunity to interact with his parents and, in a sense, through this critical period of life, was in a smaller family," she said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Will Health Care Overhaul Survive Republican Control of the House?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Since the health care bill passed in March, Republicans have vowed to "repeal and replace" it as a central part of their "Pledge to America."

Now that they will assume control of the House of Representatives next year, that GOP mission is among the options they'll have to weigh, health policy analysts say. "Repeal and replace" is unlikely to happen, the analysts agreed, so Republicans may have tough choices ahead.

"Absent a supermajority in both houses of Congress, efforts by either or both houses to reverse the law will most surely be vetoed," said Jay Wolfson, distinguished service professor of public health and medicine at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Gail Wilensky, an economist and senior fellow at Project HOPE, an international health foundation, said, "The real question is whether the Republican House and the more closely divided by Democratic Senate work to fix aspects that are regarded as particularly troublesome or leave it as is, so that the more egregious parts are more obvious."

Either way, she added, Congress must address at least one issue immediately.

"They need to fix the Medicare physician fee schedule right away," she said. "Starting on December 1, Medicare payments to physicians will drop 23 percent." The cuts are part of a congressional plan to help reduce the budget deficit.

Ken Thorpe, professor of health policy at Emory University in Atlanta, said, "They can do a 13-month extension of that and give Congress time to think how to...[fix the payment system], but it will cost billions to freeze the payment system." ´╗┐

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio