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Obama, GOP budget hawks win on jet engine

By Andrew Taylor

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 16 2011 1:55 p.m. MST

The cuts are all the more dramatic because they would be shoehorned into the last half of the budget year that started Oct. 1.

The bill marks the first significant attack on federal deficits by Republicans elected last fall with the support of smaller-government tea party activists.

The measure came to the floor just a day after Obama unveiled his budget for next year and is merely a first round in what looms as a politically defining struggle that soon will expand to encompass Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the massive government programs that provide benefits directly to tens of millions of people.

"We know we can't balance this budget simply by reducing non-security, nondefense spending," said Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, referring to the 359-page bill that would cut $61 billion from domestic programs.

The measure is sweeping in its scope, cutting spending from literally hundreds of domestic budget accounts and eliminating many others. At the same time, the Pentagon budget would be increased by almost 2 percent from current levels.

In a reflection of tea party priorities, the practice in which lawmakers direct money to their pet projects is banned in the bill. And in a fulfillment of a promise that Republicans made to the voters last fall, about $100 billion would be cut from funds that Obama requested for the current fiscal year.

At a White House news conference, Obama said he looked forward to working with lawmakers in both parties on the spending bill, but warned against "a series of symbolic cuts this year that could endanger the (economic) recovery."

A few hours after Obama spoke, the White House issued a formal statement expressing "strong opposition" to the legislation for "cuts that would sharply undermine core government functions and investments key to economic growth and job creation."

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