The Corner

GOP Gets Specific on Cuts

For months now, Democrats have chided Republicans for their lack of specifics in regard to spending. And while it’s true that most Republicans have been reluctant to go into much detail over what exactly they would cut, that’s about to change. In fact, it already has.

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) has released his budget allocation for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 (through September), and it is now up to the House Appropriations Committee to enforce those spending limits.

Appropriations chairman Hal Rogers (R., Ky.) will instruct his twelve subcommittees (three defense-related, nine non-defense) to make significant cuts to their respective categories as they begin the process of drafting a continuing resolution to fund the government once the current one expires on March 4.

“We are going to go line by line to weed out and eliminate unnecessary, wasteful, or excess spending — and produce legislation that will represent the largest series of spending reductions in the history of Congress,” Rogers said in a statement. “These cuts will not be easy, they will be broad and deep, they will affect every Congressional district, but they are necessary and long overdue.”

Rogers also announced concrete spending level cuts for each subcommittee, with some of the heftiest cuts to funding for Transportation, Housing, Agriculture, and Justice. The size of the cuts changes depending on the baseline number used to determine them. President Obama’s budget request for FY 2011 ($1.128 trillion), which was never enacted by the Congress, had been the basis for most of Ryan’s calculations. However, the government is currently operating under a continuing resolution passed during the lame-duck session last year, which holds spending at roughly 2010 levels ($1.089 trillion). Ryan’s number comes out to $1.055 trillion.

Here’s a look at what each appropriations subcommittee has been instructed to cut:

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                                                    NON-DEFENSE SPENDING:

Appropriations Subcommittee

FY 2010 (CR) – billion $

Obama’s Request – billion $

FY 2011 (GOP) – billion $

Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA

23.3

23.1

20.1

Commerce, Justice, Science

64.3

60.1

54.1

Energy and Water Development

33.5

35.3

30

Financial Services and General Government

24.2

25.3

21.1

Interior, Environment

32.2

32.4

29.6

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education

163.6

170.6

157

Legislative Branch

4.7

5.1

4.6

State, Foreign Operations

48.8

56.6

47

Transportation, HUD

67.9

68.7

56.3

Total:

$462 billion

$478 billion

$420 billion

Here’s how much the GOP is cutting:

Appropriations Subcommittee

Relative to FY 2010 (CR) – billion $

Relative to Obama’s Request – billion $

Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA

-3.2 (14%)

-3.1 (13%)

Commerce, Justice, Science

-10.2 (16%)

-6.4 (11%)

Energy and Water Development

-3.5 (10%)

-5.4 (15%)

Financial Services and General Government

-3 (13%)

-4.1 (16%)

Interior, Environment

-2.6 (8%)

2.8 (9%)

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education

-6.6 (4%)

-13.6 (8%)

Legislative Branch

-0.1 (2%)

-0.6 (11%)

State, Foreign Operations

-1.8 (4%)

-9.7 (17%)

Transportation, HUD

-11.6 (17%)

-12.4 (18%)

Total:

-$42.6 billion (9%)

-$58 billion (12%)

                                                     DEFENSE SPENDING:

Appropriations Subcommittee

FY 2010 (CR) – billion $

Obama’s Request – billion $

FY 2011 (GOP) – billion $

Defense

508.1

530.9

517.7

Homeland Security

42.5

43.6

42.5

Military Construction, Veterans Affairs

78.6

76

74.7

Total:

$627.3 billion

$650.6 billion

$634.9 billion

How much they’re cutting:

Appropriations Subcommittee

Relative to FY 2010 (CR) – billion $

Relative to Obama’s Request – billion $

Defense

+9.6 (2%)

-13.2 (2%)

Homeland Security

-0.02 (0%)

-1.1 (3%)

Military Construction, Veterans Affairs

-1.9 (3%)

-1.3 (2%)

Total:

+$7.7 billion (1%)

-$15.7 billion (2%)

Many were surprised by Ryan’s decision to cut a sizable chunk (16 percent) of defense spending, but relative to 2010 levels, allocations actually grow by nearly $10 billion.

As mentioned above, the total GOP budget allocation for FY 2011 comes out to $1.055 trillion. Here’s how it stacks up:

 

FY 2010 (CR)

Obama’s Request

Total Spending:

$1.089 TRILLION

$1.128 TRILLION

GOP Cuts:

-$35.6 billion (3%)

-$73.7 billion (7%)

A lot of money, to be sure, but merely a drop of what’s needed. As Ryan said, these initial cuts are just a “down payment,” and a taste of what’s to come as he prepares to unveil his annual budget for fiscal year 2012.

But now that the GOP’s opening bid is on the table — and plenty specific — don’t expect Democrats to lay off. On the contrary, expect an all out offensive using the disingenuous combination of attacking Republicans for (A) making “draconian” cuts and (B) not cutting as much as they said they would. And so on.

You can probably expect a lot more of these, as well.

President Obama releases his fiscal year 2012 budget on February 14 — arguably his last chance to prove he’s serious about deficit reduction. If the numbers in his 2011 request are any indication, we probably shouldn’t get our hopes up.

See more here.

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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