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House Conservatives Persuade Leaders to Slash Spending Further

House Republican leaders have agreed to a key conservative demand that they make good on their campaign pledge to reduce fiscal 2011 spending to $100 billion less than President Barack Obama’s budget request, GOP aides said Wednesday.

According to a GOP leadership aide, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and other leaders are working with Republican appropriators, the Republican Study Committee and other conservatives on a “unified” strategy to reduce spending beyond the $74 billion in cuts they had already planned. The cuts, which would only apply to non-defense discretionary spending, would come as part of a continuing resolution to fund the government between March and the end of the fiscal year.

“From the start, our focus has been to cut spending so that we can grow the economy, and right now there are a lot of moving parts and we’re actively working to bring the Conference together with a unified strategy,” the aide said.

It remains unclear how Republicans will make the additional $26 billion in cuts. Cantor has reportedly directed appropriators to stay on schedule and introduce their CR on Thursday. Because Republicans are still hashing out their strategy, it appears unlikely the additional cuts would be included in the bill, and a second aide suggested they could come in the form of an amendment.

It is also unclear whether the cuts will be made across the board or whether certain areas would be targeted for deeper cuts.

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