House Republicans on Friday unveiled a revised plan for massive cuts in this year’s spending totaling $100 billion, bowing to pressure from the Tea Party and other conservatives to make good on their campaign promise to reverse years of increased government spedning.
Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee submitted a 359-page, resolution that would fund the government through the seven months remaining in the fiscal year. The plan would slash many domestic programs, including the Environmental Protection Agency, block the spending of about $2 billion in unused economic stimulus funds, seek to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing the new health care law, eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and reduce foreign aid.
The House GOP leaders filed the resolution with the intent to pass it before the House goes on recess for the President’s Day weekend. A continuing resolution temporarily funding the government will expire on March 4. Unless the House and Senate and the Obama administration can agree on a new spending resolution, they may have to resort to a series of short-term extensions or face the consequences of a government shutdown.
“These cuts go far and wide, and will affect every community in the nation,” Rogers said in a statement. “These were hard decisions, and I know many people will not be happy with everything we’ve proposed in this package. That’s understandable and not unexpected, but I believe these reductions are necessary to show that we are serious about returning our nation to a sustainable financial path.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., called the resolution, “a historic effort to get our fiscal house in order and restore certainty to the economy.”
According to Republicans, the CR includes no earmark funding and eliminates all previous earmark funding from fiscal year 2010, which would amount to a savings of about $8.5 billion. The legislation would increase funding for the Department of Defense by two percent over last year’s level. Most of the cuts would be made in essential government services and take aim at the Obama Administration’s top initiatives including, renewable energy programs.
The legislation calls for overall spending that is $100 billion below the President’s fiscal year 2011 request and is a $60 billion cut in the current fiscal 2011 government spending level. Some $81 billion has been cut from non-security programs, and security-related programs have been reduced by $19 billion. Whether the spending cuts will fully satisfy Republican freshmen and Tea Party members remains to be seen.
“It is my intent – and that of my Committee – that this CR legislation will be the first of many Appropriations bills this year that will significantly reduce federal spending,” Rogers said.
Leaving few sacred cows in the budget, here are some of the cuts in the 21-page roster:
---The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget would be slashed by almost 30 percent below last year’s levels.
---The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) would see a $13 million increase over last year.
-- Homeland Security faces $1.1 billion in cuts below the 2010 level and $2.2 billion below the President’s fiscal year 2011 request. This includes $350 million in border security fencing when compared to fiscal year 2010 levels.
-- All funding for construction of new federal buildings would be eliminated.
-- Agriculture programs, including the Food and Drug Administration and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants & Children (WIC) , would be cut by $5 billion below the President’s request.
--Labor, Health and Human Services collectively face a $17.5 billion reduction from 2010 funding levels.
--Energy and water development programs face a total of $3.6 billion in cuts.
--More than $121 million would be cut from the White House offices including funding for the so-called “Climate Change Czar” and “Health Care Czar”.
--$15.4 billion in cuts would come from housing and transportation programs.
The proposed cuts suggest that congressional Republicans and the White House are headed for another epic budget showdown over the budget deficit, which will reach $1.5 trillion this year, according to projections from the Congressional Budget Office.
Democrat leaders immediately rejected the bill. “Republicans are proposing an irresponsible spending bill that threatens job and economic growth, hampers our global competitiveness, and harms the people hurting most: working families and the middle class,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement.
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