February 11, 2011 | WebMemo on Budget and Spending
House Republicans are now pledging to reduce fiscal year 2011 discretionary spending to $100 billion below President Obama’s original request. As reported, this new budget proposal would:
Rather than stop at $84 billion, lawmakers could seek a full $100 billion reduction in non-security discretionary spending. Defense should be funded at the level proposed in the FY2011 president’s budget. This would bring that spending down to 2005 levels for the final seven months of the fiscal year (and 2008 levels over the full year) and create a new, lower baseline that could save nearly $2 trillion over the decade.
More to Cut
The House Appropriations Committee has released a partial list of its non-security discretionary spending cuts. Using a recent Heritage Foundation paper specifying larger federal spending cuts as a guide, lawmakers could add the following $47 billion in 2011 reductions (with savings listed over seven months):
Beyond these additional cuts identified above, one element sorely missing from the continuing resolution is those appropriations included in Obamacare. Adding these could save billions more. Still more savings could be found in all unnecessary non-security spending that has remained unobligated from prior fiscal years (for example, those more than 36 months old).
Federal spending has soared in recent years, driving the budget to economically unstable and harmful levels. Substantive cuts this year are imperative to get spending and deficits down and build momentum for additional spending reforms in 2012.
Brian M. Riedl is Grover M. Hermann Research Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs, and Emily J. Goff is an Administrative and Research Assistant, in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
Press release, “CR Spending Cuts to Go Deep,” Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives, February 9, 2011, at http://appropriations.house.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=259 (February 11, 2011).
Brian Riedl, “How to Cut $343 Billion from the Federal Budget,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2483, October 28, 2010, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/10/How-to-Cut-343-Billion-from-the-Federal-Budget.
See Ernest Istook, “An Opportunity to Defund Obamacare,” The Foundry, February 10, 2011, at http://blog.heritage.org/2011/02/10/an-opportunity-to-defund-obamacare/.
Brian Riedl, “New CBO Budget Baseline Reveals Permanent Trillion-Dollar Deficits,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 3121, January 26, 2011, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/01/New-CBO-Budget-Baseline-Reveals-Permanent-Trillion-Dollar-Deficits.