The Spectacle Blog

Republican Study Committee Releases Spending Cut Proposal

By on 1.20.11 | 4:05PM

The Republican Study Committee has come out today with a spending proposal, which, Dave Weigel details would:

The proposal does what Republicans have been talking about for two years -- "repeal" of remaining stimulus funds (now $45 billion), privatizing Fannie and Freddie ($30 billion), repealing Medicaid' FMAP increase ($16.1 billion), and what they estimate at $330 billion in discretionary spending cuts. Highlights of these projected annual savings:

- Cutting the federal workforce by 15 percent through attrition, and do this by allowing only one new federal worker for every two who quit.
- Killing the "fund for Obamacare administrative costs" for $900 million
- Ending Amtrak subsidies for $1.565 billion
- Ending intercity and high speed rail grants for $2.5 billion
- Repealing Davis-Bacon for $1 billion
- Cutting annual general assistance to the District of Columbia by $210 million, and cutting the subsidy for DC's transit authority by $150 million.

Reforms that go after their own perks:
- Cutting the Federal Travel Budget in half, for $7.5 billion
- Cutting the Federal Vehicle Budget by 1/5, for $600 million
- Halve funding for congressional printing - $47 million annual savings
- Ending the death gratuity for members of Congress

And cuts that get revenge for Juan Williams: $445 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, $167.5 million from the NEA, and $167.5 million from the NEH.

The bill would also cut discressionary non-defense discretionary spending back to 2008 levels, and then later back to 2006 levels, which it would then freeze until 2021.

I'm still awaiting a more detailed breakdown of the proposal, which the RSC tells me won't be released until later today or tomorrow, but in a press release and an op-ed by Sen. Jim DeMint, and Reps. Jim Jordan and Scott Garrett, they claim the proposal would save $2.5 trillion over 10 years. It's not clear how they get to that number, but I would imagine it's largely a result of the spending freeze, which would lower discretionary spending relative to projections. The problem with relying on spending freezes is that you still have to figure out down the road where the actual savings are coming from, especially as time goes by and inflation makes it more challenging to meet those annual spending targets. And as we know, we won't get the long-term debt under control without a serious effort to reform entitlements. That said, at first blush, I don't see anything in the above list that would not be worthwhile to cut.

As the authors acknowledge, "On its own, passing the Spending Reduction Act will not get us over the finish line -- but we will get a $2.5 trillion head start."

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