House Republicans Friday night unveiled their plan to cut $100 billion from last year’s budget request in the upcoming continuing resolution, calling it a “historic effort to get our fiscal house in order and restore certainty to the economy.”
The reductions apply to federal spending from March to the end of the fiscal year and represent $26 billion in cuts beyond the GOP’s initial proposal. The current CR, which funds the government, expires on March 4. The House expected to vote on the funding measure this week.
In a statement released by his office, Majority Leader Eric Cantor acknowledged the proposal would result in steep cuts to key parts of the government. Republicans ran on a platform of spending cuts and deficit reduction.
“These are not easy cuts, but we are finally doing what every other American has to do in their households and their businesses, and that’s to begin a path of living within our means,” the Virginia Republican said.
Cantor also sought to push back against Democrats who have accused Republicans of trying to shut down the government by setting up a showdown with the president by proposing such drastic reductions.
“Unlike our Democrat colleagues whose reaction to reducing spending has been to stoke fear while offering no credible plan, House Republicans are fully committed to using every tool at our disposal so that we can boost long-term economic confidence helping businesses to grow,” Cantor said in the statement.
“For years Democrats have proposed more government spending to create jobs, resulting in the largest debt and deficits in history while unemployment still remained too high,” he added.
Senate Democrats, however, were having none of Cantor’s charges. Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) charged that “this proposal is a clear demonstration of how Republicans’ priorities are out of sync with middle-class families in Nevada and across the country. Their policies would harm initiatives that keep us safe and grow our economy, and mean less financial aid for college students and fewer loans for small businesses.”
Any GOP-passed CR will be met with a Senate version. A compromise is all but assured.
“Republicans have taken a meat ax to the initiatives that invest in our economy and create jobs for the sake of appeasing their base,” he added.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye argued that the GOP House cuts would do little to reduce the deficit.
“It is clear from this proposal that House Republicans are committed to pursuing an ineffective approach to deficit reduction that attempts to balance the budget on the back of domestic discretionary investments,” the Hawaii Democrat said. “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.”