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. Tulsa

    If the purpose of the agency is to award scholorships, and they only spend 20% of their budget on doing that, they should be eliminated.
    There is no room for inefficient government.
    ...(and I'm a Democrat)

    May 7, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. Brian in AZ

    Good idea to cut inneficient programs (if this one truly is inefficient, or out of the proper scope of government). But I wonder what it means that recipients are "individuals RAGING from middle school students to scientists and researchers."

    Is this agency only giving awards to chronically angry teenagers who end up wearing a labcoat?

    May 7, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Dutch.Bad Newz, VA

    When you got to go, you got to go. This program is not needed now and I don't know why it was needed in the first place. What I'm more concerned about is why is it that programs we already have, such as No Child Left Behind has a similar/alternative plan, or GPS has a similar/alternative plan. Where has the money been going?

    May 7, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. Ken in NC

    I know this process of cutting from the budget is going to anger many but if we are going to make budget cuts, someone will have to lose. It is sad but just as we must be prepared to pay more for some things, we must also be prepared to see some other things cut or even eliminated. I am saddened by this but there is no way we can do the things we know we must do to become a more effecient nation without making cuts.

    May 7, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. SLM

    It's a start, but hear the crying already. He needs to cut more money that is wasted on programs like this. There are many others that can and should be cut, but we will see if he can follow through. Doubtful, but I am hopeful. A penny saved for every thousand dollars of new spending isn't going to cut it.

    May 7, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. flybyshoeing

    Congress must go along with any cuts the president proposes.

    What is that supposed to mean?

    Only 20% awarded? Get rid of it. Although it is probably a higher percentage than most charities or religious groups. They should be looked at too.

    May 7, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. Dave OT

    Yeah, it should as efficient as the government budget and pay out 300% of its annual budget.

    May 7, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  8. Sam Sixpack

    Say good-bye to the old leaches ... got to make room for the new leaches,

    May 7, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. Kristin

    Time to start cleaning house. He promised to do this and he is sticking by that. I guess the radical right will come out spewing hate about this as well. Can't win with the "just say no" republicans.

    May 7, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. SHIRLEY "60"

    Something is wrong with this program because it should be paying all the money each year, as their are so many needy people looking for educational funds.

    May 7, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. Mike- Kansas City MO

    If they are only awarding 20% of their budget then that is VERY inefficient, and should either be eliminated or have an overhaul.

    I would hate for those students who could receive that money miss out on a great opportunity.

    May 7, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Debi

    Now the Pentagon is going to stop outside contractors and actually hire the people as government employees.
    I think this is great. Finally responsible budgets.

    May 7, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. Sam Sixpack

    20% is more than the percentage that will trickle down to us voting morons from the "stimulus" package.

    May 7, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. KC

    Is it a religious foundation? If so, could that be the reason for the cut? This administration does not like people of the Christian faith. That is evident.

    May 7, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. Simmy

    Many such agencies tend to hoard monies allotted them, denying potential recipients, aid they so desperately need. And some, for whatever reasons, make it more difficult than need be for applicants to get assistance.....If they've been giving out only 20%, they should have a hefty balance.....I hope....

    May 7, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  16. Mari, Stuck in Moderation

    I support President Obama in ridding our government of "programs" that are redundant or obsolete. Obama needs to have a group of his staff, look into every single program and clean up!

    There were no comments allowed on the previous article about "Limbaugh the comedian" so I will comment here. After the way Bush forced Colin Powell to ......LIE..... at the United Nations about the reason to attack Iraq, that would have been enough for me, had I been Powell to resign and join the Democrats!

    I will never forget how uncomfortable Powell looked delivering the LIES that Bush had asked him to deliver!

    May 7, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  17. Kelly

    It only awards 20% of its budget?! Good grief.
    Yes, it should be cut.

    If the government said to me, "Hey, give me 100 dollars, and I'll give 20 of it to some kid and 80 of it to a bunch of people who decide which kid gets the $20," I'd say, "You have got to be kidding."

    Spend wisely, not foolishly.

    May 7, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. FL for Change

    That's my President! Thank you, Sir, for continuing to do the right thing. You'll have my vote in 2012 as well!

    May 7, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. Fran

    So instead of getting rid of it, reduce it to $300k - $200k to be given out, the other $100k for staff and admin. $100k is plenty for a staff of 2 and any admin costs.

    May 7, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  20. Qui-Tam Relator

    ****************************************************************
    Will Black Water be one of the secret budget's that will be cut out of these programs?
    ****************************************************************

    May 7, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  21. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Hello cut what you can President Obama and congress should give you line item veto. Keepe up the good work.

    May 7, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  22. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    How about cutting back on some of the larger Organizations like ACORN and other Radical and semi-radical groups. Obama is cutting millions/billions. Yes its monies but when you spend Trillions and Trillions those are drops in the bucket. Again Obama talks big but the proof is in the puddin. Cut bigger government spending and we mean big. The average and below average US citizens have no idea what is being spent or what just once TRILLION is.....Half of the stimulus package could be cut. Who cares about stufing pig odor and the like. We need to get back to basics. No more spending until this country gets back on its feet. Spend for defense not programs that can wait. Protect and serve Obama, Protect and serve part of your Oath.

    May 7, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. Chamorrita, MD

    CHOP, CHOP, CHOP away. There are a LOT of wasted programs that need to go. Bottom line. I'm glad the President is going through these programs line-by-line. That's just the reality of the times. If Americans are asked to "budget" their households, so should the Federal Government.

    May 7, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. RealityKing

    Inefficiency is the reason for the programs cut!?

    Can anyone name an efficient government entity for me!!??

    May 7, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. RealityKing

    Even the state run media is losing money now...

    May 7, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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