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Republicans take a $100 billion whack at Obama budget

Bending to party conservatives – notably tea partiers – House GOP leaders propose steep cuts in many popular programs for the rest of the fiscal year. Will it lead to a government shut-down?

By Staff Writer / February 12, 2011

Chairman Harold Rogers (R) of Kentucky presides over a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee. House Republicans want to cut President Obama's budget for the rest of the fiscal year by $100 billion.

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In a move that has “tea party” written all over it, Republicans in the House of Representative propose to cut spending for the rest of this fiscal year by what they claim is “the largest single discretionary spending reduction in the history of Congress.”

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Will it pass? That’s unlikely, given Democratic control of the Senate and President Obama’s authority to veto what’s called a “continuing resolution.”

Still, the action sets the scene for what could be a knock-down-drag-out political fight. And while the amount in question is just a fraction of overall government spending, it wallops many popular programs – including some highly favored by the Obama administration.

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“The CR contains over $100 billion in cuts compared to the President’s request – fully meeting the spending reduction goal outlined in the Republican ‘Pledge to America’ while providing common sense exceptions for our troops and veterans,” says Rep. Hal Rogers (R) of Kentucky, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “These cuts go far and wide, and will affect every community in the nation.”

“These were hard decisions, and I know many people will not be happy with everything we’ve proposed in this package,” he said. “That’s understandable and not unexpected, but I believe these reductions are necessary to show that we are serious about returning our nation to a sustainable financial path.”

Among those programs facing steep cuts: environmental protection, renewable energy, transportation (including high-speed rail), housing, community health centers, border security, the Peace Corps, and Pell Grants for low-income college students.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and AmeriCorps would be eliminated. Also, the EPA would be prohibited from regulating greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

(Actual cuts total $61 billion. The $100 billion cited by Rogers comes out of Obama’s FY 2011 budget, which was never enacted.)

Democrats call it a “meat ax” approach, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada puts it.

“The priorities identified in this proposal for some of the largest cuts – environmental protection, healthcare, energy, science, and law enforcement – are essential to the current and future well-being of our economy and communities across the country," Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D) of Hawaii said in a statement.

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