House GOP proposes $74 billion in spending cuts

This article has been updated.

House Republicans are proposing to slash $74 billion in discretionary spending this year, and have included a surprise cut of $16 billion for defense and other security programs. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is expected to file a budget resolution Tuesday using unilateral powers granted to him by new House rules. Under those rules, his overall budget numbers will amount to marching orders for the House Appropriations Committee, which will have to decide on the specific cuts.

If they pass the full Congress, the cuts would be largest one-year reductions in decades. But they fall short of the House Republicans' campaign promise to roll back non-security discretionary spending to 2008 levels, or the $100 billion in cuts for this year alone.

Members of the conservative House Republican Study Committee had pleaded with House leader to stick to the original goal, even though the current fiscal year will be almost half finished by the time the current stopgap spending bill expires on March 4.

But the big surprise was Ryan's decision to included security programs on the chopping block. Thus far, House Republicans have talked almost entirely in terms of cuts to non-security discretionary spending, and shielded defense and homeland security.

It wasn't clear where Republicans hope to cut security spending, because the Budget Committee only sets overall limits. The cuts would not affect combat operations in Afghanistan or Iraq. it is possible that the cuts would simply reflect budget cuts along the lines that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has proposed, though some GOP lawmakers have complained about his proposals as well.

Asked why they did not meet their $100 billion target directly, Republican staffers criticized Democrats for failing to produce a budget last year and for proposing a continuing spending resolution that will be in effect only until March 4 -- though Republicans opposed a longer extension to the temporary spending deal.

Republican aides argued that their spending plan meets their goal because, if passed, the rate of spending for the balance of the 2011 fiscal year will be reduced to 2008 levels. On an annualized basis, the cuts would amount to about a 20 percent reduction in spending. Aides called that that approach the "fairest way, without changing baselines or changing goals."

Republican staffers were still unable to point to specific programs they wished to cut, saying that duty falls to the Appropriations committee, one noted that Defense Secretary William Gates has proposed sensible budget cuts in security spending. Asked where the hurt of budget cuts would fall, another Republican aide mentioned the Environmental Protection Agency.

"Folks that will be hurt are government bureaucracies that have grown," the staffer said. "The notion that this is the extent of our appetite for spending cuts is demonstrably false."

GOP aides expect to move a spending bill to the floor by February 14 and begin an open amendments process that could result in further cuts, with the hopes of reaching agreement with the Senate before the current spending measure expires on March 4. Experts and Congressional staffers believe Congress will not move fast enough to avoid a government shutdown without another short-term spending deal.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.