Rich Galen

Washington-based staff shouldn't travel to the home State or District ever. They already have people there to attend to their whims and needs.

On the other hand, the Republicans recommend some cuts with which I disagree.

Given my recent trip to Africa and having seen first hand what US Agency for International Development is doing to help ninth-world people, I am opposed to cutting $1.39 billion from its budget.

On the other hand the GOP budget cuts don't mention ethanol subsidies which might total as much as $4.5 billion per year. Iowa is still the first caucus state and ethanol is made from corn which is grown in Iowa so … there you are. Again.

The details of the cuts are not as important as the concept behind them: For too long (and Republicans are as guilty of this as Democrats) the Congress didn't have the backbone to say "no" to any request for federal funding for any project no matter how sketchy.

The Congress has to go through the entire discretionary spending budget and separate the "nice-to-haves" from the "must-haves." Unless it qualifies as a "must-have" it should be reset to zero.

No matter how powerful; no matter how much money a company or association donates; no matter how compelling the tale of woe; unless it qualifies as a "must-have," we can't afford it.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at