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Obama's Budget: What's Getting Cut?

By Ed O'Keefe

By Ed O'Keefe and Steve Vogel

President Obama first introduced his budget outlines in February, at which time we assessed the early winners and losers. Today we take a deeper look at some of the terminations, reductions and other cost savings.

Speaking earlier today as he unveiled the budget, Obama said that "There are many, many people doing valuable work for our government across the country and around the world and it’s important that we support these folks -- folks who don’t draw a big paycheck or earn a lot of praise but who do tough, thankless jobs on our behalf in our government. So this is not a criticism of them."

For a detailed look at the budget cuts, visit our interactive, searchable database. Read about selected cuts below:


Anthrax Vaccine Research: Cutting the program saves $8 million. The administration wants to cut the CDC program because it has achieved its stated goals of reducing the number of doses necessary to complete an anthrax vaccination.

C-17 Airlift Aircraft: One of many DOD reductions, the administration wants $91 million next year to shut down the production lines for the aircraft, stating that the 205 already ordered and paid for will suffice, along with the military's fleet of C-5 aircraft.

Character Education Program: One of several Education Department cuts proposed as an example of overlap or redundancy, the administration wants to eliminate this $12 million program and instead provide more money to the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities (SDFSC) national programs, which get $111 million from Obama's proposals. The budget cuts SDFSC's state grants however.

Cotton Storage Payments: This $570 million savings would eliminate payments to producers who store cotton until prices rise. "There is no reason the Government should be paying for the storage of cotton, particularly since it does not provide this assistance for other commodities," according to Obama's budget proposals.

Even Start: Another Education Dept. cut, the program provides grants to local family literacy projects, but it has not worked well, according to White House officials. It was singled out as an example of cost savings in the White House briefing calls and news releases. Cutting this program would save $66 million in FY 2010. President Bush faced Democratic opposition in his attempts to cut the program. Will Obama succeed? He might, since it pumped $5 billion into Head Start with the stimulus package and plans more funding for other childhood education programs.

F-22 Raptor Fighter Aircraft: It has several Congressional and industry backers, so we'll see if this ever gets cut, but the administration says that the 187 ordered aircraft, coupled with the new Joint Strike Fighter now in production can meet future threats.

Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation: The budget doesn't eliminate the program, it merely ends $1 million in federal funding. The current endowment should suffice and the foundation can raise private funding instead, according to the administration.

The Presidential Helicopter VH-71 or "Marine One": The replacement aircraft are already six years overdue, having cost the federal government $3.2 billion. Next year's proposed budget cancels the program and earmarks $85 million for termination costs, new plans to develop a replacement program and an extension of the current fleet.

Resource Conservation and Development Program: Eliminating the 47-year USDA program would save $51 million. The administration believes it has achieved its goals of establishing community leadership development programs.

Yucca Mountain Repository Program: The budget cuts the program and denotes $196.8 million for the Energy Department to explore other options. "The President has acknowledged that nuclear power is -- and likely will remain -- an important source of electricity for many years to come and that how the Nation deals with the dangerous byproduct of nuclear reactors is a critical question that has yet to be resolved."


DOD Construction Delays: The administration wants to delay until 2015 the next generation Navy cruiser, the CG(X), a multi-mission ship with sophisticated air and ballistic missile defense that was originally slated for 2011. The delay would save about $150 million in 2010. The White House also wants to delay completion of the CVN-79 aircraft carrier by one year to 2013, cutting $727 million from next year's budget.

Military Recruitment and Retention: The administration proposes trimming such costs by almost $800 million in 2010. The funding was more than doubled to $7.7 billion between 2004 and 2008, but the administration says that now that the military services are meeting and in some cases exceeding their goals, the funding can be cut.

Support Service Contractors: The Pentagon also proposes reducing them from the current 39 percent of the defense workforce to the pre-2001 level of 26 percent. The 2010 budget request reduces funds for service contracts by replacing selected contractors with 33,600 federal civilians by 2015, saving $900 million, the administration said.

Limiting 2008 Farm Bill Payments: The budget proposes to limit payments to high income farmers to $250,000 per person, a measure the administration says would save $126 million through 2019. It would also provide no new funding for the construction of research facilities operated by the Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.

USDA Under One Roof: The budget proposes a $27 million increase in the Department of Agriculture's building and facilities program account in 2010 to consolidate seven leased facilities in the Washington metropolitan area into one location. The proposal would save $62 million in leasing costs over 15 years.

Voice of America Silence (In Some Languages): The 2010 Budget proposal would eliminate VOA Hindi, Croatian, and Greek language broadcasts and close a finance office located in Paris. While the overall funding level for VOA is increasing from 2009, the administration says, funding related to these language services within VOA will be reduced from about $3 million to $1 million.

No More Meetings: The Department of Veterans Affairs has canceled or delayed 26 conferences in 2009, a savings of $17.9 million.

Debt Collection Procedures: Changes to the Department of the Treasury's debt collection procedures will increase the amount of delinquent taxes collected from federal contractors by an estimated $2 billion over ten years, the administration says.

Much more on the new budget from our colleagues throughout the day at and in tomorrow's editions of The Washington Post.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 7, 2009; 12:28 PM ET
Categories:  Administration  
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Next: Eye Opener: May 8, 2009


Get out of Iraq, Mr. President. Calculate that savings why don't you? And while you're at it, get out of Afghanistan as soon as you have dealt one telling blow to the Taliban. The savings monetarily are calculable, the healing for soldiers who have served far too many terms is not. Get out of Korea. Shut down black budgets at the CIA. Stop building carriers and reinvest in cars that don't use oil and public transportation infrastructure. In a sentence, turn weapons into plowshares.

Posted by: medogsbstfrnd | May 7, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I fully support ending payments to the farmers in the Farm Bill 2008. It is time that we quit supporting the grain farmers. It is stupid to pay the grain farmers. They are the ones that have driven up the cost of farm equipment. No one needs a $500,000 combine or a farm tractor costing more than a house, or driving up the cost of farm ground. A grain farmer never has to put up his money for his crop or the expenses related to the production of their crop. A grain farmer comes in plants the field, then sprays with some of the most toxic pesticides known to man, residue that then pollute the streams, wells and groundwater that are necessary for life and then vacations until harvest. If there is a drought, vegetables and orchards will not get any aid because of the grain farmers control of locate government committee. If Obama can get the federal payments to the grain farmers ended we will get rid of one of the biggest leeches on the federal budge. Not many people eat field corn. Yet we all eat fruit and vegetables and they are not receiving a government handout.

Posted by: mdterpmom | May 7, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

We can balance the budget, provide universal health care, and ensure a decent retirement for all Americans, easily.

We all know it. We all know how stupid it is that we don't do what we all know we need to do.






Forgive me for raising my voice, or not, but until the "advanced weapons systems" on the F22 can hit a cancer tumor I don't want to spend another dime on it.

America can't afford to be that stupid anymore.

We've got better things to spend our taxes on than "Faberge eggs of death"

Every day in America, kids are needlessly dying of Cancer, and they're doing it in pain that you simply can't imagine,

That's unacceptable.

America's better than that.

Posted by: PoliticalCommentator | May 7, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow, 6 years overdue on Presidential Helicopter and they've only been on contract for 4 years....get your facts straight.

Posted by: truth2tell1 | May 7, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Are you suggesting that we end all spending on national defense? You are ok with having more fuel efficient cars, but no protection other than what you can give yourself?

Posted by: capsfan55 | May 7, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

i love every one of the bullet points.
all of them so far are decent cuts.

and remember, cut doesn't mean "go away"....

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 7, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Are you suggesting that we end all spending on national defense? You are ok with having more fuel efficient cars, but no protection other than what you can give yourself?

Posted by: capsfan55 | May 7, 2009 2:23 PM

You mean, the 260 million firearms in the hands of private owners already?



Posted by: bs2004 | May 7, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Cutting some VOA languages and closing a VOA finance ofice in Paris is a worthy start but not nearly as effective as ceasing the entire VOA operations and merging the many similar organiztions into a one more effective entity. VOA, Radio Marti, Radio Farda, Radio Free Europe, VOA-TV, and others have served a useful need but now are only competing organizations whose effectiness has diminished. Much more effective would be an NPR like operation world-wide for Americans living overseas, much like BBC world service. And, let the rest of the world listen in if they want to know what America thinks.
NPR and PRi could then and should be broadcast via the Internet, Satellite TV, local AM and FM facilities, and short-wave to all of the world. Portions of ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and others could and should also be included. But we do not need the bloated bureaucracy of the VOA or any of its bedfellows to continue.

Posted by: ghp60 | May 7, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

This is really going to cramp the right, the Democrats cutting programs. I'm not sure how their going to handle this. Ever since the election I have felt better every day. We weren't used to brains in the oval office. Now if we can only cut the costs of these wars created by Bush. mm mm

Posted by: shipfreakbo214 | May 7, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I certainly hope that the abstinence program is one of the cuts. What a stupid waste!

Posted by: shetuck | May 7, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I went and checked and they are cutting abstinence. Yes!

I agree with those above about Defense. We don't need to spend more than all the other countries in the word combined. We have a lot of cutting to go.

Posted by: shetuck | May 7, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Banks have huge debts, but they're getting a helping hand from the federal government. If you have overwhelming debt--perhaps from bad investments, or maybe a job loss, a medical crisis or just plain overspending--you're probably on your own. Check the website
to see if they can help. I am glad I did read it before I talk to my CC company and it helped - Jane Jim, California

Posted by: janejim533gmailcom | May 8, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

The budget cuts proposed by Obama are only 0.05% of the budget, not very much. The proposed budget is still much higher then George W. Bush's final budget, in fact, its higher then all the budgets from George Washington to George Bush added together...

Posted by: gerrypooh | May 8, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The alomost $2,000,000,000,000 we have spent on banks, wall street firms, auto companies, pay back to auto workers and others, pales to anything else in the federal budget. Our great great grand children are going to be paying this money back. Inflation and very high gasoline prices are soon to be here.

Posted by: combsad7 | May 8, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

This is getting just a little bit rediculous.

The comments that I've seen on this page are not very factual.

What do you think the outcome will be of cutting farm bills?

Less food will be grown, provided, and traded.

Trust me, I know. I'm in the Agriculture Industry, I was raised on it, lived around it, and know all about it.

Obama can't seriously expect a good outcome of that.

Farms are already having issues because of the price of fuel. Price of fuel is extremely expensive for combines, tractors, ect.

How can you honestly believe that with cutting their funding it will help them "realize" that they'll be okay.

Federal funding is part of the reason how farms are still operating and how you are still provided with food in your grocery store.

Cutting that funds will not only cause farms to go bankrupt but it will also cause YOUR food choice, quality, and availablity to go down exceedingly.

My suggestion would be to GET my friends, family, and everyone else out of Iraq, and Afghanistan. Save your money that way. Quit spending it building up a country that has already fallen and been built back up again. If its stable, get out.

There are other things we can cut that won't leave agriculture hurting.

How bout try cutting some of Obama's funds?

If you can't see that agriculture is important then you need to look in your fridge, and pantry again.

Posted by: sillyboyssteersareforgirls | May 14, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

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