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What’s Up in the House Today

The House will debate H.R. 3183, the FY 2010 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill today. Its cost is about $414 per U.S. family.

Another one up today is H.R. 1018, the Restore Our American Mustangs Act (cost – just over a buck-and-a-half per U.S. family). The bill would affect the protection of wild herds of horses and burros in the western United States, requiring the acreage available to such animals to never be less than the area they occupied in 1971. It also would prohibit keeping wild animals in holding facilities for longer than six months.

Those are nice things, but the real reason the bill must pass is its acronym. “Restore Our American Mustangs” – it’s the ROAM Act! Get it? Wild horses? “ROAM”? It’s cleverness like this that makes the bills move!

OK, back to seriousness, Congress has been truly impressive about moving fiscal year 2010 spending bills, and the action in the House today continues to prove it. (The Senate has concluded floor business for the week.)

We’ll soon update the FY 2010 appropriations tracker to show the week’s events, but the process is going much more smoothly than it has in years past. Congress has often waited until the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1st – or much later – to finally decide on spending for the year. As you can see from the chart, they are a few weeks behind schedule, but that is a major improvement over past practice. Operating on the prescribed schedule gives taxpayers a better sense of what’s going on, and it helps all the agencies of government plan their activities much better too.

So kudos to Congress on this.

Except . . . they’re kind of taking the wind out of our big earmarks project, which will get a formal announcement early next week. D’oh!

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