GOP Lawmakers Unveil $2.5 Trillion Spending Cuts Package

By John R Parkinson

Jan 20, 2011 4:34pm

ABC News' John R. Parkinson reports:

Less than a week before President Obama is set to deliver his State of the Union address next Tuesday, a group of House Republicans today introduced a proposal to cut spending from more than 100 federal programs and cut back spending levels by $2.5 trillion over the next decade. 

The bill, known as the Spending Reduction Act, would hold non-security discretionary spending for Fiscal Year 2011 to FY 2008 levels, and freeze non-defense discretionary spending to FY 2006 levels for a 10-year budget window – saving almost $2.3 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the Republican Study Committee (RSC). 

Rep. Jim Jordan, Chairman of the RSC, said if the Congress does not act soon to make serious cuts to spending, the growing national debt could spark a new financial crisis.

 “In my time in public life, I have never seen the American people more receptive, more ready for the tough-love measures that need to be taken to help fix the country. The American people get it,” Jordan said. “The real challenge for elected officials in this Congress, at this point in history, is to live up to the standard the American people have displayed over the last year and a half.”

The national debt has nearly doubled over the past four years from $8.6 trillion to $14 trillion. Compared to current projections from the Congressional Budget Office, Jordan said the bill would save taxpayers an estimated $2.5 trillion through 2021. 

Rep. Scott Garrett, R-New Jersey, said the legislation fulfills the GOP’s pledge to cut spending back to 2008 levels and would also return $45 billion from the stimulus bill that has not yet been spent. 

“We can accomplish what the American public wants us to do, and that is reduce spending,” Garrett said. “Principally, we hit upon three — about three or four different points.  The three major ones are mandatory spending, emergency spending; but primarily it's in the area of discretionary spending.”  

At the start of FY 2012, spending is cut back to 2006 levels and froze for the next 10 years.  To help achieve these savings, the bill shrinks the size and cost of the civilian federal workforce and specifically targets over 100 budget items and spending reforms, according to the committee. 

The bill would save $30 billion by eliminating federal control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and would save about $80 billion by prohibiting any FY 2011 funding from being spent to implement any provisions in the health care law that was repealed in the House Wednesday

The measure would also eliminate automatic pay increases for civilian federal workers for five years and would cut the civilian workforce by 15 percent through attrition — permitting the hiring of only one new worker for every two workers who leave the federal workforce until the reduction target has been met. 

House Democrats largely rejected the plan, arguing that the proposed cuts only create more unemployment while jeopardizing the economic recovery. 

“After reading this radical proposal by House Republicans, we now know why they have been so tight-lipped about their budget plans. The likelihood of this becoming law is around zero, but even putting forward a plan that puts more people out of work and endangers our economic recovery calls into question how serious the GOP is about tackling our nation’s most difficult challenges,” said Doug Thornell, spokesman for the ranking member of the House Budget Committee Chris Van Hollen. “House Republicans need to realize that the campaign is over, the time for political stunts has past, and they have a responsibility to move the economy forward not backwards.” 

Here’s the list of proposed cuts to federal programs, which save a total of about $330 billion, according to the committee: 

  •  
    • International Fund for Ireland.  $17 million annual savings. 
    • Save America’s Treasures Program.  $25 million annual savings. 
    • Corporation for Public Broadcasting Subsidy.  $445 million annual savings. 
    • Legal Services Corporation.  $420 million annual savings. 
    • National Endowment for the Arts.  $167.5 million annual savings.
    • National Endowment for the Humanities.  $167.5 million annual savings.
    • Hope VI Program.  $250 million annual savings.
    • Amtrak Subsidies.  $1.565 billion annual savings.
    • Eliminate duplicative education programs. H.R. 2274 (in last Congress), authored by Rep. McKeon, eliminates 68 at a savings of $1.3 billion annually.
    • U.S. Trade Development Agency.  $55 million annual savings. 
    • Woodrow Wilson Center Subsidy.  $20 million annual savings.
    • Cut in half funding for congressional printing and binding.  $47 million annual savings.
    • John C. Stennis Center Subsidy.  $430,000 annual savings.
    • Community Development Fund.  $4.5 billion annual savings.
    • Heritage Area Grants and Statutory Aid.  $24 million annual savings.
    • Cut Federal Travel Budget in Half.  $7.5 billion annual savings.
    • Trim Federal Vehicle Budget by 20%.  $600 million annual savings.
    • Essential Air Service.  $150 million annual savings.
    • Technology Innovation Program.  $70 million annual savings.
    • Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program.  $125 million annual savings.
    • Department of Energy Grants to States for Weatherization.  $530 million annual savings.
    • Beach Replenishment.  $95 million annual savings.
    • New Starts Transit.  $2 billion annual savings.
    • Exchange Programs for Alaska, Natives Native Hawaiians, and Their Historical Trading Partners in Massachusetts.  $9 million annual savings.
    • Intercity and High Speed Rail Grants.  $2.5 billion annual savings.
    • Title X Family Planning.  $318 million annual savings.
    • Appalachian Regional Commission.  $76 million annual savings. 
    • Economic Development Administration.  $293 million annual savings.
    • Programs under the National and Community Services Act.  $1.15 billion annual savings.
    • Applied Research at Department of Energy.  $1.27 billion annual savings.
    • FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership.  $200 million annual savings.
    • Energy Star Program.  $52 million annual savings.
    • Economic Assistance to Egypt.    $250 million annually.
    • U.S. Agency for International Development.  $1.39 billion annual savings. 
    • General Assistance to District of Columbia.  $210 million annual savings.
    • Subsidy for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.  $150 million annual savings.
    • Presidential Campaign Fund.  $775 million savings over ten years.   
    • No funding for federal office space acquisition. $864 million annual savings.
    • End prohibitions on competitive sourcing of government services. 
    • Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act. More than $1 billion annually.
    • IRS Direct Deposit: Require the IRS to deposit fees for some services it offers (such as processing payment plans for taxpayers) to the Treasury, instead of allowing it to remain as part of its budget.  $1.8 billion savings over ten years. 
    • Require collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees.  $1 billion total savings.
    • Prohibit taxpayer funded union activities by federal employees.  $1.2 billion savings over ten years. 
    • Sell excess federal properties the government does not make use of.  $15 billion total savings.
    • Eliminate death gratuity for Members of Congress.
    • Eliminate Mohair Subsidies.  $1 million annual savings.
    • Eliminate taxpayer subsidies to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  $12.5 million annual savings. 
    • Eliminate Market Access Program. $200 million annual savings. 
    • USDA Sugar Program. $14 million annual savings. 
    • Subsidy to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  $93 million annual savings.
    • Eliminate the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program.  $56.2 million annual savings.
    • Eliminate fund for Obamacare administrative costs.  $900 million savings. 
    • Ready to Learn TV Program.  $27 million savings. 
    • HUD Ph.D. Program. 
    • Deficit Reduction Check-Off Act.
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