House Republicans Seek $32B in Spending Cuts

Politics Reuters

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives will seek $32 billion in spending cuts from current levels this year as part of an effort to reduce a forecasted $1.5 trillion deficit.

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Aides to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan outlined the savings to reporters on Thursday. These spending cuts would become part of a bill to fund a wide range of federal government programs through the current fiscal year that ends on September 30.

Federal programs currently are running on stop-gap funding that runs out on March 4. The House is aiming to pass the new legislation the week of February 14.

The House Appropriations Committee still must fill in the details of how the spending cuts would be carried out and the Democratic-led Senate will consider its own version of a spending bill.

The spending cuts would fall mainly on domestic programs other than domestic security protections and benefits for war veterans, according to the aides, who asked not to be identified.

Additional small savings also would be found in some defense programs, the aides said.

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"House Republicans will continue to build on this down payment, working to restrain the explosive growth of government," Ryan said in a prepared statement.

His aides said that relative to President Barack Obama's budget request for fiscal year 2011, the Republican savings would amount to $74 billion.

In their 2010 congressional campaigns, Republicans pledged to cut $100 billion from Obama's request and to set domestic discretionary spending back to 2008 levels -- before massive government bailouts and spending measures were instituted to rescue an economy that was plunging into a deep recession.

Republican leaders have said that with five months of the current fiscal year already gone, it was difficult to achieve the full $100 billion in savings they had promised. They took control of the House in January, following massive election wins last November.

Many House Republicans have been urging more ambitious spending cuts than Ryan produced. Once the legislation hits the House floor, they are expected to offer amendments for deeper cuts in domestic spending.