Revised March 5, 2004


PDF of this fact sheet

Press Release:
Deep, Widespread Cuts in Domestic Programs Over Next Five Years Under Administration Budget

Related Reports:
Concentrating on the Wrong Target: Bush Cuts Would Reduce Domestic Discretionary Spending, As A Share of GDP, To Its Lowest Level in 46 Years

Administration’s Budget Would Cut Heavily Into Many Areas of Domestic Discretionary Spending After 2005

View Related Analyses

If you cannot access the files through the links, right-click on the underlined text, click "Save Link As," download to your directory, and open the document in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

A new Center report, Administration’s Budget Would Cut Heavily into Many Areas of Domestic Discretionary Spending After 2005, examines the President’s proposal to cut discretionary spending in nearly all domestic areas of the government over the next five years.  These cuts have received little public attention, largely because they were omitted from the budget books OMB issued on February 2.  The proposed cuts are far more significant than “out year” budget figures in previous budgets because the budget would institute binding caps that would essentially lock cuts of this magnitude in place.[1]  The cuts would:

Cuts Would Affect Vast Majority of Domestic Programs

Examples of Proposed Cuts

  • Title I education funding.

  • Loans to states to pay for sewage treatment plants.

  • Housing vouchers for low-income families.

  • Head Start and WIC.

  • Veterans’ health benefits.

The proposed cuts include:

The proposed cuts are so large, an accompanying Center report shows, that by 2009, total funding for domestic non-entitlement programs outside homeland security would fall to its lowest level, measured as a share of the economy, since 1963.

Spending Cuts Won’t Reduce Deficit Because Proposed Tax Cuts Are Even Costlier

Even as it proposes these program cuts, the Administration also is proposing significant tax cuts that would cost more than the program cuts would save.  As a result, the spending cuts would essentially be used to help pay for the tax cuts, not to shrink the deficit.

Serious deficit-reduction efforts of the sort made in the late 1980s and 1990s are again needed.  Those efforts involved shared sacrifice and coupled reasonable restraints on discretionary programs with tax increases — especially on those who could most afford them — and entitlement reductions.  The new proposals, by contrast, single out domestic discretionary programs and the people they serve for cuts, while conferring lavish tax benefits on the well-off.

End Notes:

[1] Under the President’s budget, if Congress approved funding for discretionary programs above the capped levels, across-the-board cuts would be made automatically.
[2] This analysis compares proposed funding levels in 2009 to the OMB baseline for 2009, which equals the 2004 funding levels for discretionary programs, adjusted for inflation. If the Administration's 2009 funding levels are instead compared to the CBO baseline, the reduction in 2009 totals $45.4 billion (10.4 percent). The CBO baseline is slightly lower because of lower inflation projections.