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Proposed House GOP Non-Security Discretionary Cuts: Deeper Than They Appear

The cuts in non-security discretionary programs required by a proposal from House Republican leaders are deeper than you might think, as we explained in a report late last week.

GOP leaders say their plan would cut this category of funding by 9 percent.  In fact, non-security programs – from K-12 education to biomedical research, food safety to the FBI – would shrink for the rest of the year, on average, by 15.4 percent below current funding under the continuing resolution (which expires March 4) and 19.4 percent below what President Obama proposed for fiscal year 2011.  That’s because much of the fiscal year will be over by the time Congress must act on the spending cuts.

We also know that not every category of spending will face the average cut, per the funding allocation – known as the 302(b) – that the House Appropriations Committee will likely make for its 12 Appropriations Subcommittees.  Transportation and housing programs would be cut by more than one quarter, while the costs of running Congress would be cut less than 4 percent.  Further, much more radical spending cuts, as proposed by the Republican Study Committee, may become part of the House proposal once it reaches the House floor.

Other key findings of our report:

  • If the cuts were for an entire year, they would be close to $100 billion below the President’s proposal for 2011.
  • Defense spending, not including war funding, would increase relative to its current funding level.
  • The current 2011 funding level and last year’s level do not include funding from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or from legislation to bail out financial and other institutions.