GOP: New Obama budget-cutting offer too small

By Andrew Taylor

Associated Press

Published: Friday, March 4 2011 1:07 p.m. MST

In fact, the administration's latest $6.5 billion spending cut proposal contains lots of easy targets, like cutting accounts lawmakers have heavily "earmarked" with back-home projects like clean water funding, eliminating $500 million in grants to state and local police departments and $425 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency money for state and local governments for homeland security and disaster preparedness.

The White House list also would cut $280 million for a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has canceled, $275 million cut from a program subsidizing community service jobs for low-income senior citizens and $500 million in rescissions of unneeded money from a program providing food aid to low-income pregnant women and children under the age of 5.

The talks, in Biden's private office just off the Senate floor, marked the beginning of an attempt by the White House and top lawmakers to agree on legislation to cut spending and avert a partial government shutdown when current funding authority expires on March 18.

Republicans, their ranks swelled by 87 freshmen, passed legislation in the House calling for $61 billion in cuts. The bill also contains prohibitions on proposed regulations aimed at several industries and against giving taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood, which provides contraception and health care to millions of women and girls.

Money for food inspections, college aid, grants to local schools and police and fire departments, clean water projects, job training and housing subsidies also would be reduced.

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