U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding the Senate's acceptance of the Coburn-Begich amendment cutting funds for orphaned earmarks as well as Dr. Coburn's amendments cutting subsidies for airports close to medium and large airports that carry few passengers.
"With our nation facing a looming debt crisis, I'm pleased my colleagues took the common sense step of cutting at least $500 million from our budget. The Senate is going to have colossal debates this year about spending levels, but the fact is we have to move forward program by program, cut by cut, until we are on a sustainable path. We took a couple of steps toward that goal tonight, and the American people can look forward to us taking many more such steps in the months ahead," Dr. Coburn said.
The Senate accepted Coburn amendment #64 to rescind unspent earmarks that are at least nine years old.
"If an earmark hasn't been claimed in nearly a decade, it's unlikely it ever will be," Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) said of the orphan earmark amendment.
"We had $2.6 million sitting in an account that could not be spent on anything except the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. That made no sense, and I'm glad my colleagues agreed it did not make sense," Dr. Coburn said.
The Senate also accepted Coburn amendment #80 to limit subsidies to airports that are 90 miles or more away from the nearest medium or large hub airport, and amendment #81 to limit essential air service to locations that average 10 or more passengers per day.
"I'm also pleased the Senate decided to save taxpayers more than $50 million by refusing to subsidize airports close to other major airports, as well as airports that have less than 10 travelers a day. These are the kinds of common sense reforms the American people have been waiting for in Washington," Dr. Coburn said.