While the proposal could provide a modest political boost to Obama this year, it could prove even more useful to a Republican president intent on shrinking government far more than Obama. It would be easier to eliminate departments and rework agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau many Republicans want reworked or disbanded.
Several senior Democratic aides said their bosses were not given a heads up about the plan. One suggested that the plan made sense politically in the short term for the president, but could cause problems down the line for Democrats should they end up in the minority with a Republican president.
Nonetheless, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a vaguely worded statement of support.
"Republicans and Democrats have called for government reforms on behalf of efficiency; that is why I hope Congress acts without delay on President Obama's proposal in a bipartisan way," she said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did not comment today. He is scheduled to appear Sunday on "Meet the Press."
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.