The $61 billion the House will slice from this fiscal year's 2011 budget will cut much more deeply into the government's discretionary programs than anyone expects, eliminating or shrinking dozens of programs and offices, even axing some of the GOP's own sacred cows, and slashing agencies by up to 40 percent. But with the March 4 deadline looming, when the temporary continuing resolution spending bill expires, the Senate will be forced to cut more deeply than it otherwise would like in order to cut a compromise with the House and avoid a government shut-down.
A bipartisan gang of senators is already at work on a budget-cutting deal for the remaining fiscal year. Whether the House will accept it is another matter.
"I don't think the Senate will pass this cut. We will have to negotiate," House Republican Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Look, we're not looking for a government shutdown. But at the same time, we're also not looking at rubber-stamping these really high, elevated spending levels that Congress blew through the joint two years ago."
Deeper spending cuts in this fiscal year's remaining seven months were offered in the House floor debate, but they were voted down by wide margins.
Nevertheless, the sweeping cuts House Republicans approved would slash dozens of the Democrats' pet programs, from public television to farm subsidies. Among the victims:
-- National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System, whose news, public affairs, entertainment and numerous cooking shows have been made redundant by cable and broadcast network shows offering duplicate programming to much larger audiences.
-- The Clinton administration's Americorps and its parent agency, the Corporation for National and Community Service, that wastefully duplicates public service programs at the state and local level.
-- The multi-billion dollar fence and surveillance technology and border security forces patrolling the U.S. and Mexican border would lose $600 million. -- Eliminated, too, is $2 billion of the EPA's vast armada of regulations, among an array of other federal regulatory agencies.