House GOP Unveils Proposal to Slash Budget
By Lori Montgomery
Responding to a challenge from President Obama, House Republican leaders today unveiled a plan to slice $375 billion out of the federal budget over the next five years by capping nondefense spending at the rate of inflation and requiring that any bailout money repaid to the Treasury be dedicated to deficit reduction.
Aside from those two big-ticket items, House GOP leaders came up with less than $25 billion in actual program reductions and terminations over the next five years, or about $5 billion in cuts per annum -- less than a third of the $17 billion in program reductions and terminations that Obama has proposed for the fiscal year that begins in October.
The GOP plan -- which would rid the federal government of the office of the Treasurer, eliminate a program currently dedicated to creating safe routes to school and bar federal employees from getting paid for full-time union work, for example -- was greeted with derision by analysts dedicated to reducing the size of government.
"Like the specific cuts in the president's proposal, they're all good cuts," budget analyst Tad DeHaven wrote on the Cato Institute's blog. "But the president detailed $17 billion in cuts for one year and I generously called it 'measly.' What am I to call the House Republican leadership specifying $5 billion a year in cuts?"
The answer, DeHaven concluded, is "not serious."
"Half-measures are not enough," he wrote, "and from the Republican House leadership, wholly insufficient for winning back the support of limited-government voters who have come to associate the GOP with runaway spending and debt."
House Minority Leader John Boehner was undeterred. "We hope the president will work with us to make the reforms outlined in this proposal as the first step in a serious bipartisan effort to crack down on unnecessary and duplicative spending by the federal government," he said.
Posted at 4:04 PM ET on Jun 4, 2009
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