As he often does, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) made the case for reducing the size of government at an event hosted by Politico this morning, which ThinkProgress attended. Ryan said the government needs to “prioritize” its spending, giving three examples of worthy “core mission” functions: scientific research, job training, and defense:
RYAN: Personally, I think you’ve got to get government back to focus on its core mission, its core ideas. You know, basic scientific research. In education, we have less of a role money-wise, one K-12, but more of a role post-secondary. You know, get job training going so we can have that can kind of system that we should focus on for life-long learning. You know, focus on the basics, defense. Basic research, those things.
It’s ironic that of all the functions of government, Paul would single out job training and scientific research, since the GOP’s spending proposal, H.R. 1, which Paul voted for, makes drastic cuts to both. H.R. 1 would cut funding for job training programs in half, slashing over $2 billion from an effort that Paul seems to think is essential. A broad coalition of labor, social justice, religious groups, and the United States Conference of Mayors wrote Congressional leaders in opposition to bill:
We are writing to oppose in the strongest possible terms, the draconian cuts to employment and training funding that were included in H.R. 1, the House‐passed FY 2011 Continuing Resolution
These funds help to create and fill jobs, prepare workers whose jobs have disappeared for new careers, and train the American workforce for the demands of a 21st century, global economy. The cuts included in the House CR impact current and future workers at all ages, incomes, and skill levels, and will be felt across the entire country.
Meanwhile, H.R. 1 also slashes government funding of scientific research. The cuts are so severe that it prompted a former Bush administration official to speak out, warning that “the massive cuts in research contained in the bill passed on 19 February would effectively end America’s legendary status as the leader of the worldwide scientific community.” Particularly noteworthy in the wake of the devastating tsunami in Japan, the cuts to science would also impact the government’s ability to monitor tsunamis.
Ryan’s committee didn’t write H.R. 1 (the Appropriations Committee did), but Ryan has promised big cuts for his budget, which is expected the first week of April. Will he too cut these programs that believes are critical government functions?