House Republicans plan to take ax to budget
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
House Republicans, who will take control of the chamber today, intend to stick to their campaign promise to cut domestic spending by $100 billion.
Moderate Republicans, Democrats, economists and state governors question whether the cuts, as deep as 20%, are sustainable in a recovering economy. Economists worry that such cuts would mean furloughs for federal employees and teachers, reductions in federal and local grants, including science and medical research, and small business programs, The New York Times reported. The only domestic programs safe from cuts include those for the military, domestic security and veterans, the Times reported.
But other Republicans and conservative economists advocate for even steeper cuts. Officials from the Heritage Foundation say a plan cutting $343 billion would be ideal. They argue that federal entitlement programs are largely to blame, especially Medicare and Social Security—though cuts to these programs would not be politically popular. While severe cuts are not likely to happen with a Democrat-controlled Senate and White House, they could provide leverage for Republicans in budget negotiations with President Obama, the Times said.