Where’s The Cash Going?

I’ve followed this website for over a year, has it ever opened my eyes to the incredible array of financial sinkholes our Federal Government contributes to on our behalf. Participation by voting on a selection has given me satisfaction of at least identifying what I would cut from the budget. After my vote is placed, I look forward to learn if my pick was brought to the House for consideration. Follow the previous winning picks of the 112th Congress.

Welcome to YouCut

If you’ve never been on this site, please check it out. It was Eric Cantor’s (Majority Leader) realized idea. The first three selections were last week’s picks that are inactive now but offer a better understanding of the types of things that come up for votes.  Last week’s winning item won in a landslide. Eric Cantor was pleased to report that Rep. Renee Ellmers is introducing YouCut legislation to terminate the U.S. contributions to the U.N. Population Fund. Click here to learn more about this proposal and to follow it’s progress through the legislative process.

Be sure to cast your vote for this week’s choices (they’re the bottom three)!

Vote
Terminate the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation
Saves $60 million
Under this program, American Ambassadors can request funding for grants to preserve the cultural heritage of their host countries, such as restoration of historic buildings, documentation of music or vanishing craft techniques or languages, and conservation of museum collections. The program provided $6 million in grants during 2010, including $575,000 to preserve an 18th Century Mongolian monastery, $30,466 to document traditional Pygmy music in the Congo, $47,000 to preserve carpet weaving traditions in Kazakhstan, and $39,000 to restore 19th Century furniture at the Anton Chekhov House Museum in Ukraine. Termination of the program would save approximately $60 million over the next ten years.
Vote
Terminate U.S. Contributions to the Asian Development Fund
Saves $356 million
The Asian Development Fund provides concessional “soft loan” funds at the Asian Development Bank, an international multilateral financial institution which provides loans to governments in the Asian-Pacific region. The Fund supports lending to countries in the region that are least credit-worthy due to low per-capita incomes, limited debt-repayment capacity, and limited access to financial markets. Loans are used to promote economic growth and fund anti-poverty efforts in the borrowing countries. Pakistan borrows about $1.5 billion annually from the fund for projects such as development of its transportation systems and providing urban services. The U.S. Government made a four-year commitment to the Fund of $461 million, of which only one installment of $105 million has been paid so far. Terminating further U.S. contributions to the Fund will save $356 million over 10 years.
Vote
Terminate U.S. Contributions to the United Nations Population Fund
Saves $400 million
In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan withheld all U.S. contributions to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) after determining that UNFPA participated in the support and co-management of China’s population control program. Under the Bush administration, the U.S. withheld funds for the UNFPA from America’s annual contributions to the United Nations due to UNFPA’s complicity in China’s one-child policy enforced through coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization, but the Obama administration and the 111th Congress resumed contributions to UNFPA. HR 1 sought to terminate UNFPA funding, which stood at $55 million in FY 2010. UNFPA funding was cut by $15 million, to $40 million in the final agreement over FY 2011 spending. The President’s 2012 Budget requests $47 million for the program.
Vote
Terminate U.S. Contributions to the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund
Potential Savings: $838 million
In 2008, the U.S. government committed to make $2 billion in contributions to climate change activities at the World Bank, two-thirds of which were intended for the Clean Technology Fund. The Clean Technology Fund subsidizes the construction in developing countries of “clean” energy generation facilities that are more expensive than traditional coal or oil-based power plants. The fund has developed a wind energy farm in Mexico and a geothermal power plant in Indonesia. So far, the U.S. has provided $481 million of the total estimated U.S. contribution of $1.3 billion for the Clean Technology Fund.
Vote
Terminate the Federal Railroad Administration’s Funding of High-Speed Rail Projects
Potential Savings: $3.8 billion
The 2009 Stimulus bill provided $8 billion in grants to develop high-speed rail lines intended to shorten passenger rail travel times with trains operating at between 90 and 250 miles per hour. Another $2.1 billion was appropriated for these projects in the last two fiscal years, although no funding was provided in the final appropriations for FY 2011. These grants fund construction of rail lines that States will then be required to support with annual operating subsidies. Critics note that only two high-speed rail lines in the world are actually profitable. Due to the potential taxpayer exposure from future operating subsidies, several Governors have refused federal high-speed rail funds.
Vote
Terminate Climate Change Activities at the National Park Service
Potential Savings: $4.5 million
The National Park Service has established a Climate Change Response Office and a Climate Change Monitoring System as part of a department-wide mandate by the Secretary of the Interior to devote more resources to the issue of global warming. The office will do “scenario planning” on possible warming effects within the parks, in addition to formulating policies that reduce the Park Service’s “carbon footprint.” In addition, the office will inform staff and visitors about the impacts of climate change in the parks. Funding for these activities was zeroed out in HR 1, however this termination was not enacted as part of the final budget agreement for FY 2011.
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