House Democrats trim budget by $7B

House Democrats could unveil later Wednesday a budget package that is expected to set fiscal 2011 discretionary spending about $7 billion below what President Obama proposed, according to a Democratic aide.

The $1.121 trillion package is not only less than Obama's $1.128 trillion proposal, it's roughly $3 billion less than the five-year budget resolution passed by the Senate Budget Committee in April.

Earlier Wednesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., said the package would likely be included in the rule for the emergency war supplemental spending bill that House Democrats are working on.

The Senate is expected to pursue a budget package that will also set the fiscal 2011 discretionary number, likely at the same level the House will set. If not, the issue will be dealt with in negotiations between the House and Senate, he said.

Along with the provision deeming the fiscal 2011 discretionary level, the budget measure calls upon committees to identify reforms to eliminate waste, duplication, and inefficiencies in their areas of jurisdiction; endorse the goals of the deficit commission; and reiterate the commitment to vote on the commission's recommendations.

Spratt said he hopes the House will take up the supplemental and the budget package next week before Congress adjourns for the July 4 recess.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., in May unveiled an $84 billion war supplemental spending package that included $33 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and $23 billion for school districts to prevent a wave of teacher layoffs.

But after House Democrats ran into trouble with their members in passing tax extenders legislation because of the cost of the bill, Obey is considering scaling back the aid to teachers, possibly to $10 billion, and is looking to offset the cost.

The Senate passed a $59 billion supplemental in late May that did not include the teacher funding because of concerns over the cost.

When the House does take up its final version of the supplemental, House Democratic leaders are expected to hold separate votes on the war funding and on the emergency funding, including funds to save teacher jobs. That will allow anti-war Democrats to vote against the war funding and for the emergency funding, while allowing Republicans vote for the war funding and against the emergency provisions.

"I'm not hesitant about voting against the war; I really want to do that," said House Rules Committee Chairwoman Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., Tuesday. "If we're going to rebuild a country, I want it to be mine. And at this point, they are not much talking about the Taliban. They're talking about reconstruction of Afghanistan."

Billy House contributed to this report.

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