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House Republicans Release Partial List Of Proposed Cuts To Obama’s FY11 Budget Request

House Republicans on Wednesday released a list of 70 proposed budget cuts to be debated next week as Congress must vote to “fund the government past March, when the current temporary budget expires,” USA Today’s “On Politics” blog reports (Camia, 2/9).

“Never before has Congress undertaken a task of this magnitude,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) said in a “closed-door meeting” to unveil the proposal to Republican leaders, the Washington Post reports. “You will be voting on the largest set of spending cuts in the history of our nation,” Rogers said. 

“The full impact of the Republican plan was not immediately clear. Rogers released only a partial list of spending decreases measured against Obama’s 2011 budget request, which was never enacted, rather than actual spending levels. He is expected to announce the complete spending plan later this week and present it for debate in the House starting Tuesday,” the Washington Post writes (Montgomery/Murray, 2/9).

According to a House Committee on Appropriations press release, the request for international food aid grants will be reduced by $544 million. The CDC’s budget will be cut by $755 million and funding for NIH will be reduced by $1 billion (2/9).

On Wednesday night, “Republican leaders scrambled … to find deeper cuts, officials said, hours after” Rogers’ list of proposed cuts had been released, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (Taylor/Espo, 2/10). Conservative Republicans, “particularly members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC)” are still pushing for $100 billion in cuts from Obama’s 2011 budget, CQ writes, noting that Roger’s proposal would cut $58 billion from non-defense accounts. “Rogers huddled late Wednesday with his subcommittee chairmen to make plans to write a new bill – often called a continuing resolution – that would make sharper reductions to agency budgets. That measure is expected to be released Friday. According to an aide to one of the appropriators, they concluded they do not have enough votes for the spending bill as proposed, and they were concerned that with an open rule, it could become a free-for-all on the House floor. As a way to mollify conservatives anxious for deeper savings, House leadership has promised an open amendment process to the bill” (Young, 2/9).

“Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House argued that the cuts would” undermine federal programs aimed at creating jobs, the Washington Post writes (2/9).

A post on The Hill’s “Floor Action Blog” reports that Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) argued for larger reductions on Wednesday and focused on foreign aid. “Poe listed several countries that receive aid but perhaps should not, including Venezuela and Cuba. ‘Maybe it’s time that we reconsider sending aid to Egypt,’ he added. ‘If the Muslim Brotherhood takes over that country of Egypt, the world’s in a lot of trouble'” (Kasperowicz, 2/9).

House Rejects Proposal To Get U.N. To Return $179M

The House rejected “a proposal Wednesday that would have denied some United Nations funding until the world body returned $179 million in tax overpayments to the United States,” CQ reports. The measure, which was sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), “was defeated by a vote of 259-169 – 27 votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority needed to pass under suspension of the rules, an expedited process that limits debate and amendments,” the news service writes (Symes, 2/9).

“The bill would have sought to take back money the United States has already paid to the U.N.’s Tax Equalization Fund, which reimburses American employees there for payroll taxes. …The fund was overpaid by $180 million, of which $100 million was designated by the United Nations – with the support of the Obama administration – to make security improvements to the [New York City] headquarters, which has been deemed vulnerable to a terrorist attack,” Foreign Policy’s blog “The Cable” reports. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) led the opposition to the bill. “I strongly opposed this misguided legislation because it would have put our diplomats at risk, undermined our standing at the United Nations by withholding dues, and provided no savings whatsoever to the American taxpayer,” Berman said in a statement after the vote.

“Today, the excuse for opposing a bill that would have refunded to the American people $179 million overpaid into a controversial U.N. fund was ‘sorry, we already let the U.N. spend most of that.’ In other words, instead of receiving a refund, the American people are now being forced to give the United Nations a $100 million dollar gift card,” according to a statement from Ros-Lehtinen (Rogin, 2/9).

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