Rep. Harris Joins First Appropriations Hearing; Learns of Deficiencies in Sequestration Impact Notification

From the office of Congressman Andy Harris:

Today, Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. attended his first Appropriations Committee hearing of the 113th Congress after his recent appointment to the prestigious committee. The subcommittee on the Legislative Branch met this morning to review the accounting and business practices of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Government Printing Office (GPO). The subcommittee heard from The Honorable Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the GAO and Ms. Davita Vance-Cooks, Acting Public Printer of the GPO.

Hearings for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies & Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies subcommittees on which Congressman Harris also serves begin next week.

“I’m excited to get to work with Chairman Rogers and the rest of the Appropriations Committee,” said Congressman Harris. “We have a lot of work to do making sure taxpayer dollars are being spent properly, and I look forward to doing my part to get our country’s fiscal house in order by controlling spending.”

It was revealed at the hearing that executive branch agencies that contract with the GPO have not done their due diligence to inform them of the effect of President Obama’s sequester. The GPO does $48 million in business with Maryland vendors, so informing those vendors of the impact of possible cuts would have allowed them to plan ahead. This lack of planning by executive branch agencies is troubling since the sequester has been law for a year and a half. To protect Maryland businesses and jobs, Congressman Harris will be following up with the GPO regarding this concern.

“It is troubling that executive branch agencies have not informed the Government Printing Office about how the sequester would be impacting them,” said Congressman Harris. “Taxpayer dollars and Maryland jobs are at stake. It is inexcusable that these agencies have not planned ahead.”


  1. noble says

    You sir, along with every other member of Congress, lack the credibility to qualify the behavior of others as “inexcusable.”

    It’s inexcusable that the political theater of these elected officials are going to hurt the lives of real people that don’t have golden parachutes to fall back on.

    • B says

      As opposed to the fake people who have been suffering for the last 5 years?

      Shouldn’t you be more upset at an administration that refuses to lift a finger to make sensible cuts, and uses its employees as pawns instead of making any effort to be more efficient? Any family or company in the world could cut 3 percent over night, except our federal government.

      • noble says

        I am not more upset with the President over the budget problems we have, honestly, because it’s not really his job to spend the money. That’s Congress’ job, and they have bungled it repeatedly for years now. As for “cuts” (whatever that means anymore), Obama’s original debt reduction plan (2009) actually offered MORE cuts than the GOP’s plan, but they couldn’t swallow it because it included increases in some taxes. So if they were REALLY serious about cutting our deficit, instead of playing political games, a grand bargain could have been struck 3 years ago.

        All that aside, yes, the fact that our government can’t cut around 5% without ending the world, is a sad commentary. It’s ludicrous.

        The real problem is the indiscriminate nature of the cuts. There are government programs that have been taking cuts for years, and some programs that actually work and are a good investment, but rather than these idiots acting like adults and figuring all that out, they are playing games and posturing and forcing cuts across the board.

        There are some programs, hell, entire departments, that should be eliminated, but instead of doing that we are cutting back others that should, by ALL counts, actually have more money.

        It’s mindless. It’s pathetic. And sure the President holds some responsibility as well, as he’s out playing CYA with America right now, but the power of the purse belongs to Congress, constitutionally, at the end of the day. They have screwed the pooch royally.

        It’s embarrassing.

        Cutting back government expenditures and people losing jobs because we have to save the country is one thing, but people losing jobs because people have to score political points and can’t act like adults is “inexcusable.”

        • Mike Welsh says


          If the President is offered the opportunity to target the cuts instead of the across the board cuts, should he accept that offer?

          While I agree that Congress spends the money, it is the President who is on a campaign to scare the American people that doomsday is just around the corner. In my opinion if he really believes what he is saying about the cuts, then he should accept the offer to target the cuts himself.

          • noble says

            He doesn’t really believe it. I mean, at least it’s not “doomsday” and he knows it. There are really effective and important govt programs that will get hurt by the across the board cuts that both parties would normally support. And *might* hurt the economy a bit for a while, but this is not doomsday stuff.

            The only reason he’s out doing CYA all week is because the GOP has worked the political angle to pin him for the whole thing, which is entirely disingenuous. So in order to not get blamed for everything, he had to go out and stump. All of which is childish nonsense that neither of them should be doing. All of these idiots spend more time worrying about PR and blame than actual governance.

            As for turning over the power of targeting the cuts to the President, I have no idea whether he should take it or not. He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t– it’s brilliant politics by the Republicans. Either he ducks the responsibility and the capability to do it sensibly, or he takes ownership of the whole thing and takes the rap for whatever ill it begats. Begots? is begotten?

            But it doesn’t absolve the Congress of its responsibility to manage the money, which they have proven incapable of doing, even when it hurts the country not to do so. I’ve looked at the the Dem and Rep plans on the table now in the Senate and they are both a joke. 30% income tax is absurd.

          • Jaguar Judy says

            Mike, He isn’t going to do that. Doing that would take leadership. And leadership is not one of Mr. Obama’s character traits. He’s just another hypocritical politician playing games with all of us.

        • B says

          The grand bargain was struck, then Obama reneged. Not congress’s fault. You should look more into the deal that was made over the recent tax increases related to the “sequestration.” Once again Obama has reneged on a deal he made. Seems like a big part of the problem is how dishonest this president is in his bargaining.

          Not really his job? Congress can’t spend or cut without his approval, or without the Senate actually taking up a budget that congress has passed every year.

          Obamas attempt at cuts were tax now/ cut later offers that Dems are famous for not following through with. No one believes Obama wants to cut more then the GOP.

          Why should anyone agree to pay more in taxes when this government can’t be trusted to spend it wisely?

        • ALEX R says

          Well, Noble, as ususal we are pretty much on the same page but I can’t let the President off so easily. We have to recognize that he holds the power of the veto. Plus his Party does pretty much what he wants them to do which means the Senate won’t act independently of his wishes. It could but it won’t.

          At the end of the day this is a struggle between at least 2 ideologies but it is being conducted by people with the maturity of tantrum prone 2 year old pathological liars.

          Meanwhile a lot of people are getting hurt. If Congress and the Executive branch want to punish workers by furloughing them 20% that only tells me they are doing it out of spite and for the headlines and it is not reality based.

          Our own Senator Mikuski tells us that there will be 4300 less bullet proof vests. Now do I care that there will be 4300 less bulletproof vests? Not in the least. Why? Because I know that it is a lie. But my anger is not based on 4300 less bulletproof vests. My feelings are badly hurt and I am damned mad because elected politicians of all persuasions actually think that I am fool enough to believe stuff like that and will get all worked up over it. I equally hold the media in contempt because they report it as if it were true. That’s why the all have to go.

      • Because says

        The Presidential Line Item Veto was introduced by Congress and ruled Un-constitutional by the Supreme Court. Your lack of recognition of the division of responsibilities in the US Government smacks more of your willful hate than the reality you were taught in elementary school.

        • Jaguar Judy says

          They didn’t learn it in HCPS elementary schools I can tell you that. And I am in a position to know. Because, sometimes you can be a real dufus.

          • Common Sense says

            @Jaguar Judy

            Yes the line item veto was struck
            down by the SCOTUS.

            Alternative versions have been
            floating around since then that
            may pass SCOTUS scrutiny.

        • Jaguar Judy says

          Common Sense, I know it was struck down. My point was a jab at HCPS elementary education. And Because can be a real dufus. All 3 are true.

  2. Because says

    Mr Harris, what are YOU going to do to make things better? Anyone can be a critic, real courage requires action despite the fear of criticism. Doing nothing will have you remembered for doing nothing.