May 7th, 2009
10:00 AM ET
13 years ago

Agency on the budget chopping block

(CNN) - The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is among 121 federal programs the White House is proposing to eliminate or reduce, according to an Obama administration official. The foundation provides scholarships and fellowships in life sciences for individuals raging from middle school students to scientists and researchers.

Reached by telephone, Thursday morning, at the agency's Auburn, New York-based office, the executive director of the small federal agency, Judith Shellenberger was stunned to learn her agency's future is in peril.

"I didn't know," Shellenberger said. "We do good work," she added and "we just made several awards."

An Obama administration official who asks not to be named says the foundation is "obviously inefficient" because it pays out in fellowships and awards only 20 percent of it's annual one million dollar budget.

Congress must go along with any cuts the president proposes.

Filed under: Obama administration
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. nadine

    If they are trying to save money in the government, why not cut the governments budget. Tell obama to get rid of his nanny and wait staff, stop ordering pizza's from out of state to be flown in at tax payer expense, and oh yah, that fly by that cost the tax payers over 300k - does obama see that as a waste? I wonder if the tax payers paid for those burgers he and biden ate. Good idea, cut education and military defense programs, make our children stupid and our country defenseless - Great Plan President!!!

    May 7, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "Congress must go along with any cuts the president proposes. "

    And now we know what truly rankles about this for the GOPers.

    May 7, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. phoenix86

    This is Obama's budget in a nutshell, if a federal agency doesn't spend all or exceed its budget, it is inefficient.

    Look for even larger deficits next year as this joke drags on and on...

    May 7, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. Sniffit

    Let the hypocrisy begin! If this 80% – 20% ratio existed in the GOPers' precious "free market," I'd pull my investments from that company after giving the CEO a pimp slap.

    May 7, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. David

    Seems smart. If only 20% of the budget actually goes to the ultimate goal of the program then its excessively wasteful.

    Scholarship programs should all be merged into a few programs or, better yet, give the money to the colleges to award to students. Colleges already have to choose who to award scholarships to (they've got the overhead costs covered) so it just means they can award more money.

    May 7, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. C W

    If it's paying out only 20 percent of its budget, where is the rest of the money going? I took a look at the document proposal its elimination (available on-line at and I totally support the President's decision to cut the program.

    May 7, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Chris ~ Albany, NY

    WOW there are a lot of STUPID people on this board. You blast the Pres. for spending to much and now that he wants to SAVE $17 BILLION your blasting him again...I just don't get it. Republicans this is why you guys suck, because people like me can't figure out what the hell your talking about!!!!!

    May 7, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Now, wait a moment....I thought science was one of the 3 most crucial areas of education in our schools, with (and its never ever mentioned) learning CORRECT English (reading, writing, spelling) at the top, followed by math and science.....without learing CORRECTLY to use the English language, the rest of it is just a moot question.

    May 7, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. Mel of Alexandria

    A cut is always painful, but if only 20% of the budget is going towards scholarship, this program should have been gone yesterday.

    May 7, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. abraxis

    Where can I get a job running a foundation where 80% of the budget goes to the operations of the agency instead of awarding it to the prospective recipients?

    May 7, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. Royster

    The 'ranters' in here make me laugh.....if Obama does NOT cut funding you complain if too much spending.....when he DOES cut funding you complain that he is ending programs! Give me a break and quit talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    Bush got you all hypnotized on spend, spend, spend.........regardless of the deficit. This was NOT a Democratic mistake that caused this was BUSH who told all his advisors to quit talking about budget deficits.....and look where he left us.

    May 7, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. No More Incumbents

    They obviously need to be more like our government and pay our 300% of their budget.

    May 7, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Imarriedmycousin in OleMiss

    Great job Mr.President,the republicans are having a nervous breakdown now. Its also time to tax the think tanks and churchs that want to mix religion and politics.We could could cut the deficit in days instead of years.

    May 7, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Minnesotan

    "It pays out in fellowships and awards only 20 percent of it's annual one million dollar budget" ?!?!?! Something this inefficient and greedy must have been started and run by Republicans. 20 percent is just shameful; no organization should be coveting 80 percent of our tax dollars.

    May 7, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. Mark.B'ham,Al.

    Why should the democrt controlled congress listen to the this President's budget cuts. They have never listened to republican presidents cuts.

    May 7, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. Brian, Detroit, MI

    I think they are stealing money as they try to look like supporters of education. They are dealing out 10% while they keep 90% for themselves. STOP THIS HIPOCRACY.

    May 7, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Kathy

    While I didn't vote for BHO, and I really don't agree with him on many issues, I am glad to see him make some cuts to the budget. Finally he did something I agree with. I think we should do a lot of welfare reform and get the deadbeats off the system. That would surely save us a lot of money. Get the dopeheads out of government housing and make them get a real job. I really don't see that happening since I believe that was the ones who put him in office anyway.

    May 7, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Ray Fisher

    The legacy of starting a foundation, creating awards and wasting tax money must end!!!

    May 7, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Brian, Detroit, MI

    only 20%!!! This body is not needed. It should be done away with!

    May 7, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  20. Mississippi Mike

    I know, I know, it seems a little unjust to cut programs for needy school children so that banks and unions can get a handout but remember, Barack Obama is the greatest leader in the history of the world! Doubting his actions, words or the intent of his heart makes you a cruel, racist Republican and we wouldn't want that now would we?

    May 7, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. Film Professor

    $800K of their 1 Million dollar budget goes to pay staff salaries and overhead? Are you kidding me?

    Sounds like yet another Bush scam to enrich his friends, and Obama is absolutely right to ax this. You Repugs ought to be thrilled. When was the last time Bush ever did ANYTHING to get rid of waste and fraud, particularly with the outrageous military contracts given to Hallburton et al after Bush and Cheney started the latest Iraq war.

    May 7, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  22. Michael

    A foundation to award academic achievement...
    20% of its budget actually awarded...
    Yep, sounds like pork to me. Slice that bacon.

    May 7, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. grammy11

    So, who got the remaining $800,000?

    May 7, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. Pamela

    I too agree it should be cut.
    A payout of 20% means it is using 80% for admin costs.
    I would say someone is taking it in at the top!
    Cut it!!!!!!

    May 7, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. Jackie in Dallas

    I've worked in the non-prof sector...if 80% of your budget is being used for administration, you are seriously messed up! There are a lot of scholarship programs where the numbers are reversed - where 80% goes out in scholarships, and only 20% goes to administration. I'd rather my money be going to the people needing the scholarships, personally!

    May 7, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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