Democrats and Republicans agree on the need to cut the federal budget by about $50 billion in fiscal 2017, according to a new survey.
The poll, conducted by the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, found majorities in both parties -- when provided with background information on the subject -- support an overlap of $10 billion in specific areas in which to cut. That includes a $3 billion reduction in subsidies to agricultural corporations, $1 billion at the departments of State and Justice, $1 billion at intelligence agencies and the same amount to Overseas Contingency Operations. A majority of all respondents agreed to trim “federal enforcement of federal laws” by $1 billion.
As a group, Democrats identified $50 billion in cuts in annual appropriations, while Republicans found $49 billion.
PPC called the survey a “citizen cabinet” that consisted of a representative panel of 6,949 voters. The respondents go through a “policymaking simulation” that provided them with information as if they were lawmakers.
Respondents were given 31 line items to which they could either change funding levels or to leave them alone. A majority of Republicans did not elect to increase funding in any category. Most of the party would like to see cuts to housing programs, “science in general,” the space program, medical research, land management and environmental regulation between $1 billion and $6 billion. Republicans also supported cutting spending on mass transit, highways, education, job training and renewable energy between $1 billion and $5 billion.
A majority of Democrats agreed on boosting funding for education, energy efficiency, environmental regulation and job training. The respondents voiced support for trimming OCO by 12 percent and $34 billion from the Defense Department’s base budget. In some areas Democrats agreed with Republicans, but stood out for accepting $3 billion in cuts to the Homeland Security Department.
About four in 10 Republicans found an argument laid out by the surveyors that the government is valuable to be at least somewhat convincing, while 85 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents said the same. More than 90 percent of Republicans found an argument that government is a problem at least somewhat convicting, compared to 47 percent of Democrats and 79 percent of independents.
The survey was conducted between Sept. 17, 2015, and Dec. 14, 2015, and had a margin of error of plus or minor 1.4 percent.
President Obama will unveil his fiscal 2017 budget proposal on Tuesday.
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