Make us your home page

House Republicans move to slash domestic spending

WASHINGTON — Republicans controlling the House promised Thursday to slash domestic agencies' spending by almost 20 percent in their drive to bring it back to levels in place before President Barack Obama took office.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan announced the move as Republicans seek to keep a campaign promise to cut $100 billion from domestic programs.

The cuts would affect agencies that got budget boosts during Obama's first two years in office. The White House has vowed to fight Republicans, saying their plans could lead to widespread furloughs of federal employees and force vulnerable people off subsidized housing, reduce services in national parks and slash aid to schools and police and fire departments.

"Washington's spending spree is over," Ryan, R-Wis., said. "The spending limits will restore sanity to a broken budget process and return spending for domestic government agencies to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels."

The $100 billion savings figure is measured against Obama's budget request, but the actual savings would be less since Obama's budget boosts were never approved and the government is operating at 2010 levels. Instead, the savings from domestic programs in making the switch from 2010 to 2008 would be about $86 billion, imposing cuts of 19 percent on average.

The savings from domestic programs in the year ending Sept. 30 would be even. Republicans acknowledge they can achieve, at best, $32 billion in saving by Sept. 30.

Also in Washington

Obama speaks of Christian faith: President Barack Obama called his Christian faith "a sustaining force" in his life in a speech Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, where he acknowledged questions about his religion. Obama, who has faced a persistent number of Americans who mistakenly believe that he is a Muslim as well as questions about why he only occasionally attends church, said he "came to know Jesus Christ for myself and embrace him as my Lord and savior." NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., seriously injured during last month's shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., also spoke at the breakfast and gave the closing prayer.

FBI, Army criticized in Fort Hood shooting: A Senate report on the Fort Hood shooting sharply criticized the FBI and the Defense Department for failing to recognize warning signs that Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist, had become an Islamic extremist and was a "ticking time bomb." Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the November 2009 shooting rampage on the Texas military post.

'Forcible rape' reference removed: Republican lawmakers removed the term "forcible rape" from an antiabortion bill, called the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, after women's groups accused them of trying to change the widely held definition of rape. The legislation now echoes existing law by taking out the term "forcible." The bill seeks to bar federal funds from paying for abortions. It allows exceptions where the pregnancy resulted from incest or when the mother's life is at risk if the fetus is carried to term.

Aid to Iraq faces cuts: U.S. funding for Iraq faces cuts unless the Obama administration makes a compelling case for investing billions more taxpayer dollars in that country even as the remaining 50,000 U.S. troops prepare to leave by year's end, Republicans and Democratic members of the Senate Armed Services Committee told U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey and Gen. Lloyd Austin, the U.S. commander.

This report contains information from the Associated Press and the Washington Post.

House Republicans move to slash domestic spending 02/03/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 3, 2011 10:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours