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February 11, 2011
Deeper cuts demanded
On Wednesday, House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) announced spending cuts totaling $74 billion that were to be included in an upcoming Continuing Resolution (CR) bill. The CR would have funded the federal government through September 30, 2011, and had been endorsed by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). A partial list of the cuts is shown here.
On Thursday, according to The Hill, Tea-Party-backed "freshmen lawmakers torpedoed" the proposal "in a stinging rebuke to party leadership." The freshmen were fueled by the party's Pledge to America to cut $100 billion this year.
While the proposed cuts in aggregate exceeded $74 billion as compared to President Obama's fiscal year 2011 budget (which was never enacted), they totaled only $32 to $35 billion as compared to current (2010) spending levels.
In terms of dollars, the largest fifteen spending cuts to have been included in the now-abandoned CR are shown below:
Job Training Programs -$2B
GSA Federal Buildings Fund -$1.7B
DOE Loan Guarantee Authority -$1.4B
Community Health Centers -$1.3B
Office of Science -$1.1B
High Speed Rail -$1B
National Institutes of Health -$1B
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy -$899M
Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) -$758M
Clean Water State Revolving Fund -$700M
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services -$600M
Internal Revenue Service -$593M
International Food Aid grants -$544M
A revised GOP plan, which will contain $100 billion in cuts from the President's 2011 budget, is expected to be released today. The goal is to get a bill passed in the House next week, as a March 4 funding deadline looms.
At the $100 billion level, the cuts total 2.7% of the total $3.8 trillion budget, 7.1% of the $1.4 trillion deficit, and approximately 7% of all so-called discretionary spending (including defense).
According to The Hill, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Thursday, in effect, that everything's on the table because "we're broke." To reach the $100 billion mark, reductions in defense spending are expected.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) wants across-the board cuts, saying that while he appreciates piecemeal cuts focused on specific programs proposed by his colleagues,
The best answer is a combination of across-the-board reductions together with sharp cuts and even wholesale elimination of certain departments and agencies, such as those proposed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
To get a better understanding of the spot we're in, see an excellent graphical depiction of the federal budget, deficit and sources of revenues prepared by the Washington Post here.