President’s Budget Spin and the House’s Cuts

In his radio address today, President Obama said his budget (to be released on Monday) “asks Washington to live within its means, while at the same time investing in our future.”  During the past two years, America has added nearly $4 trillion to its national debt, and CBO recently said there were $1 trillion deficits as far as the eyes can see.  The President’s solution is to freeze recklessly high spending in place.  How can the President claim this is living within our means?

The Republican response, given Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, makes this point:  “The president’s proposal for a freeze in government spending might give the White House a nice talking point.  But it is a totally inadequate solution to our nation’s spending problems.”  Senator Hatch has this one right.

And fortunately, the folks in the House are doing the hard work to enact some real cuts – finally.  As we’ve noted, Washington spent the past week debating HOW MUCH spending to cut.  Late last night, House Republicans announced they would cut $100 billion, $81 billion from non-security spending and $19 billion from security spending.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said:

The cuts in this CR are the result of difficult work by our subcommittees who have weeded out excessive, unnecessary, and wasteful spending, making tough choices to prioritize programs based on their effectiveness and benefit to the American people. My committee has taken a thoughtful look at each and every one of the programs we intend to cut, and have made determinations based on this careful analysis.

First, kudos to the staffers who spent many long nights identifying these cuts.  Second, despite the claims made by big-government liberals, these non-security cuts are not disastrous, nor will they send us spiraling back into another deep recession.

However, Heritage Action has long maintained that to comply with their Pledge to America, House Republicans would have to cut $100 billion in non-security spending.  And Heritage Action will strongly support legislative efforts to cut an additional $19 billion in non-security spending.

According to Heritage’s Brian Riedl, it may not be as hard as some in Washington think.  Here is a partial list from his new paper, Additional $47 Billion in Spending Cuts for the Continuing Resolution:

  • Eliminate business subsidies for the National Institute of Standards and Technology: $104 million
  • Reduce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration budget to 2008 levels: $433 million
  • Cut House and Senate budget back to 2008 level of $2.2 billion: $174 million
  • Merge all four agriculture outreach and research agencies and cut budget in half: $870 million
  • Cut federal employee travel budget to 50 percent of 2000 level: $5.8 billion
  • Suspend acquisition of federal office space: $580 million
  • Trim 500,000-vehicle federal fleet by 20 percent: $348 million
  • Eliminate USAID’s Sustainable Development Assistance Program: $1.217 billion
  • Reduce National Science Foundation to 2008 levels: $847 million
  • Privatize Amtrak: $878 million

We’ve had a great conversation this week in Washington, which could not have happened without conservatives around the country stepping up and making their voices heard.  $81 billion is nice, but let’s push for the full $100 billion next week.

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