Budget office: Federal agency heads must submit reduced spending plans

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White House budget chief Jacob Lew has asked all federal agency heads to submit spending plans for the approaching budget that are 5% below this year's spending, according to Lew's fiscal year 2013 budget guidance.

Lew's guidance, posted on the White House's Office of Management and Budget blog, did not specifically mention spending reductions to benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, which many politicians have vowed to protect.

“As discussed at the recent Cabinet meetings, your 2013 budget submission should also identify additional discretionary funding reductions that would bring your request to a level that is at least 10% below your 2011 enacted discretionary appropriation,” the guidance states.

In his blog post, Lew said that this does not mean the administration will institute a “5% or a 10% cut in an individual agency's budget or in all agency budgets. We asked agencies to provide these two options so that the President can have the information needed to make the tough choices necessary to meet the hard spending targets put in place by the Budget Control Act and to meet the needs of the nation.”