- - Tuesday, July 17, 2012

House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled legislation to get rid of AmeriCorps, the national service program, and cut off federal funding for National Public Radio, public television and Planned Parenthood.

The moves would come in a controversial spending bill that pays for labor, health and education programs for the budget year beginning Oct. 1.

The measure is dead on arrival with Democrats but contains many provisions to please tea party conservatives.

“This bill is an extremely partisan proposal, stands little chance of even being brought up on the House floor, and will rightly be disregarded by both the Senate and the president,” said Rep. Norman D. Dicks of Washington, top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.


It’s the last of 12 annual spending bills for the upcoming budget year to be released. The GOP-controlled House has passed six of the measures but the Democratic Senate has yet to debate a single measure, and lawmakers are sure to have to pass a stopgap funding bill in September to avoid a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

The bill would deny funding to implement President Obama’s health care law but, Democrats say, funnels more than $3 billion of those savings to cover other expenditures such as keeping grants for community health centers at current levels. Overall, the measure cuts funding under lawmakers’ direct control by 4 percent to $150 billion.

Many of the proposed cuts have been rejected in the past, like a bid to eliminate family planning programs.

The cuts to community service programs, funded at $1 billion this year, would slash such programs by 74 percent on the path to eliminating them entirely, save for a program for senior citizens. National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service are familiar targets, too, but have been rejected before. NPR is seen as left-leaning while Republicans say PBS could get along just fine without taxpayer help.

TEXAS

George H.W. Bush, Barbara to skip GOP convention

HOUSTON — A spokesman says former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush, will skip the Republican National Convention next month in Tampa, Fla., because of health reasons.

The spokesman, Jim McGrath, says it will be the first time since 1976, when Mr. Bush was director of the CIA and refrained from partisan activities, that he won’t attend the Republican Party gathering.

The 88-year-old Mr. Bush has a form of Parkinson’s disease that afflicts his legs. He now gets around using a wheelchair or motorized scooter.

Mr. McGrath said Tuesday that the situation surrounding Mr. Bush’s mobility will keep the couple from attending the late August convention.

Mr. Bush and his wife have endorsed Mitt Romney, the expected GOP presidential nominee.

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