A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

About Those ‘Republican Cuts’


Q: Would a “list of Republican budget cuts” by the “new Republican House” slash $2.5 trillion from federal spending over 10 years?

A: The list is real. But so far, there has been no action on the bill, which was sponsored by 33 conservative GOP House members.

FULL QUESTION

Any truth(s) in this forward?

List of Republican Budget Cuts, WOW

Notice Soc.Sec. and the Military are NOT on this list.

These are all the programs that the new Republican House has proposed cutting. Read to the end.

[EET ]

* Corporation for Public Broadcasting Subsidy — $445 million annual savings.

* Save America’s Treasures Program — $25 million annual savings.

* International Fund for Ireland — $17 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.

* Freedom CAR 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. WHAT THE HELL IS THIS ABOUT?

* 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. WHAT???

* Eliminate Mohair Subsidies — $1 million annual savings.

* Eliminate taxpayer subsidies to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — $12.5 million annual savings WELL ISN’T THAT SPECIAL

* Eliminate Market Access Program — $200 million annual savings.

* USDA Sugar Program — $14 million annual savings.

* Subsidy to Organization 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.. WHY?????

* HUD Ph.D. Program.

* Deficit Reduction Check-Off Act.

* TOTAL SAVINGS: $2.5 Trillion over Ten Years

My question is, what is all this doing in the budget in the first place?

Send to everyone you know. [/EET]

FULL ANSWER

An email is circulating that lists specific “Republican budget cuts” that could save the U.S. $2.5 trillion over 10 years. The list is real. The cuts are contained in legislation — the Spending Reduction Act of 2011 — sponsored by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and cosponsored by 32 others.

The legislation is the product of the House Republican Study Committee, a group of social and fiscal conservatives. Jordan, the committee chairman, introduced the bill in January 2011, and it has been referred to numerous committees. No votes have been taken on the bill.

Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina has introduced a companion bill in the Senate. It has no cosponsors, and the Senate has taken no action on the bill, which has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

The email — which supports the cuts — contains some side comments questioning specific items, such as the “death gratuity for members of Congress.” In this case, the word “WHAT???” appears after the item.

A “death gratuity” is paid to the surviving spouse and/or children of a member of Congress who dies in office. The amount is equal to a year’s pay, according to the Congressional Research Service. For example, a $136,700 payment was added to a fiscal year 2000 appropriations bill for the wife of Rep. George E. Brown Jr., of California, a Democrat who served 18 terms in Congress (four from 1963-1971 and 14 from 1973-1999, when he died).

Separate legislation, including a bill sponsored by Rep. Bill Posey of Florida, has been proposed to eliminate the “death gratuity.” No action has been taken on that bill, either.

The email also wondered about the $1 billion in “unpaid taxes by federal employees.” That’s accurate. The Washington Post wrote about it in January: “About 98,000 federal, postal and congressional employees owed $1.03 billion in unpaid taxes at the end of fiscal 2010, according to records provided by the Internal Revenue Service.”

Jordan’s bill and a similar bill introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah would allow the federal government to fire federal employees with “seriously delinquent tax debt.” By a 263-114 vote, the House passed Chaffetz’s bill in July, and it has been referred to the Senate.

Some of the proposed budget cuts listed in the bill are longtime Republican targets, such as eliminating funding for Amtrak.

Former President George W. Bush submitted a fiscal year 2006 budget that would have cut all subsidies to Amtrak, and former President Ronald Reagan repeatedly did the same. “Why won’t Congress stop subsidizing Amtrak, which costs taxpayers $35 per passenger every time a train leaves the station?” Reagan said in a 1985 radio address to discuss the federal budget. David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director, once called Amtrak a “mobile, money-burning machine.”

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told Fortune magazine that he would eliminate “the Amtrak subsidy, the PBS subsidy, the subsidy for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities.”

In 2010, Amtrak received $1.565 billion in federal capital grants and operating subsidies — which, not adjusted for inflation, was the highest level since 1999. That was the amount listed as “annual savings” in the email and in Jordan’s summary of his bill, although the amount has fluctuated over a 10-year period ending in 2010. The average annual subsidy during that time was nearly $1.2 billion, with a low of $520 million in fiscal year 2001.

The bulk of the bill’s savings would result from deep cuts in non-defense discretionary spending. The Republican Study Committee says by eliminating automatic increases for inflation and capping spending at 2006 levels through 2021, the budget would save $2.29 trillion over 10 years.

Jordan and the RSC have since called for even deeper cuts, proposing a fiscal year 2013 budget plan that would balance the budget in five years. By contrast, Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan for fiscal year 2013 (“The Path to Prosperity“) aims to balance the budget by 2040. “Obviously, a lot of us thought we could do better,” Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey told the Daily Caller when the RSC released its budget plan.

So, yes, the list of “Republican budget cuts” is real. But historically it has been difficult to make such deep cuts in the budget, and some of the proposed cuts go further than even the Republican leaders so far have been willing to support.

— Eugene Kiely

Sources

Republican Study Committee. Spending Reduction Act of 2011, Summary. Jan 2011.

U.S. House. “H.R. 408, Spending Reduction Act of 2011.” Accessed 27 Aug 2012.

U.S. Senate. “S.178, Spending Reduction Act of 2011.” Accessed 27 Aug 2012.

Congressional Research Service. “Members of Congress Who Die in Office: Historic and Current Practices.” 25 Apr 2012.

U.S. House. “H.R. 1905, Making appropriations for the Legislative Branch for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2000, and for other purposes.” 6 Jan 1999.

U.S. House. “H.R. 3127, To prohibit the payment of death gratuities to the surviving heirs of deceased Members of Congress.” 6 Oct 2011.

O’Keefe, Ed. “Federal employees owe $1.03 billion in unpaid taxes.” Washington Post. 23 Jan 2012.

U.S. House. “H.R. 828, Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2012.” (as passed by the House 31 Jul 2012.)

U.S. House. H.R. 828, roll call vote #538. 31 Jul 2012.

White House. “Radio Address to the Nation on the Fiscal Year 1987 Budget.” The American Presidency Project. University of California, Santa Barbara. 8 Feb 1986.

White House. “Radio Address to the Nation on the Federal Budget and Tax Reform.” The American Presidency Project. University of California, Santa Barbara. 23 Mar 1985.

Pear, Robert. “Reagan sends $1 trillion budget to Congress, and battle is joined.” New York Times. 6 Jan 1987.

Pear, Robert. “’89 Reagan budget, a ‘consensus’ plan, goes to Congress.” New York Times. 19 Feb 1988.

Wicker, Tom. “Young David’s Tantrum.” New York Times. 3 May 1985.

Federal Railroad Administration. “Amtrak funding.” Undated, accessed 27 Aug 2012.

Press release. “CUT, CAP, AND BALANCE: A Fiscal Year 2013 Budget.” Republican Study Committee. Undated, accessed 27 Aug 2012.

Pappas, Alex. “House Republican Study Committee: We can balance the budget in five years.” Daily Caller. 27 Mar 2012.

Would a “list of Republican budget cuts” by the “new Republican House” slash $2.5 trillion from federal spending over 10 years?