Federal budget cuts in 2011 are the biggest issue facing Republicans and Democrats, with both sides clearly outlining what they believe is necessary to keep the economy going.
Recently, President Obama made it very clear at a press conference that he is not interested in school budget cuts. He said that he was interested in fixing the No Child Left Behind law, but isn’t interested in including it in part of federal budget cuts.
In front of a group of middle-school students in Arlington, Virginia, he stated “I refuse to do it by telling the students here… that we’re not willing to invest in their future.”
Republicans and the Cut Federal Spending Act of 2011
The Republicans made a series of promises before elections on making federal budget cuts; now that they have control of the House of Representatives, everyone is expecting them to follow through.
The GOP brought forth its Cut Federal Spending Act of 2011, which is meant to bring nondiscretionary spending in 2011 down to the levels they were in 2008. Afterward, the spending for the next nine years would be at the level it was in 2006.
Among the proposed federal budget cuts would include education, the FDA, community development, Amtrak subsidies, and reforms to health care.
Bargaining Over Federal Budget Cuts Begin Now
March 4 marked a big day because it was the last day the US government would be operating on a budget resolution that was set for 2010. Now, new budget proposals are allowed, and the Republicans and Democrats are drawing lines in the sand.
Democrats acknowledge that budget cuts will have to be made, but they just don’t agree to how much.
The Republicans suggested cutting a walloping $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years. In March, both sides agreed to a deal that would include $4 billion in federal budget cuts from this year’s current spending. Up to this point, the easy part of the negotiations has been done by cutting programs both sides can agree to.
Now is when it gets more difficult.
The Republicans want to cut $60 billion for the rest of the year, while the White House said they’re willing to look at cutting $8 billion. If both sides can’t agree by March 18, a possible partial government shutdown could occur, which is what both sides fear.
What Won’t Happen and Could Happen
The Democrats earlier tried to pass budget cuts that dealt with those on welfare, a group that is traditionally politically underrepresented and doesn’t have much of a political voice. However, it didn’t receive any votes from the House of Representatives.
Recent polls also showed that up to 30 percent of people are against making changes to Medicaid, so it’s also unlikely this will be included in the cuts.
While the Democrats don’t want to give up a lot of their spending, eventually they’ll get to a point where they’ll have to explore cutting something.
The Republicans are targeting the FDA, which has historically been underfunded and might be subject to budget cuts. While they’re also targeting education, another soft spot that might go is the cushy funding that goes to performing arts. Another area which might go as well is the Amtrak funding, which has been targeted for many years and might actually succumb this year to political pressure.
Federal Budget Cuts 2011: Obama and Education
Federal Budget Cuts 2011: The FDA
Federal Budget Cuts 2011: March 2 Agreement
Federal Budget Cuts 2011: Cut Federal Spending Act