Federal budget will grow a whopping 9% this year, but some "moderates" in Congress, including Mike Castle (R-Del) want to splurge even more on a handful of appropriations bills.

WASHINGTON – The federal budget is projected to increase by 9% this year, exactly three times the annual average increase in federal spending between 1992 and 1999. Yet, some big spenders in Congress seek to spend even more, despite looming budget deficits and slow economic growth.

Case in point: Rep. Michael Castle, (R-Del) and other self-proclaimed "moderate" Republicans in the U.S. House "intend to vote against" the President Bush\’s proposed spending bill for the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and Education. The bill is one of the largest appropriations by Congress each year, and Castle is thwarting attempts to pass the proposal unless more money is pumped into it and the dozen other appropriations bills being considered in the final weeks of the session.

"We\’re in the middle of fighting a war, we may start another war, the economy is off, and some members of Congress don\’t have the discipline to tighten up their spending," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington.

President Bush proposed a $130.5 billion budget for HHS-Labor, a 5.3 increase this year and a 19% increase over 2001-2003. The Senate proposed $135 billion, or a 9 percent increase – nearly double the President\’s requested increase – and 4.5 times the rate of inflation.

Castle seeks $9 billion more than the President, $4 billion more the Democrat-controlled Senate, which would be a 13 percent increase over last year, or nearly seven times the rate of inflation.

Meanwhile, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) the federal government will run a projected budget deficit of $157 billion this year, and $452 over the next three years. A spending increase of $9 billion this year, upon the realistic assumption that the HHS-Labor-Education budgets will not be cut in the coming years, will cost taxpayers $90 billion over the next ten years.

"Mr. Castle may think that $9 billion is not a lot of money, but over the next ten years his proposal will strangle the federal budget and taxpayers alike," continued Norquist. "This Congress has spent enough money as it is, and appropriators like Castle need to quit trying to sink the ship with heavy appropriations."