During several interviews this week, Minnesota's Rep. Michele Bachmann has referenced an upwards of $400 billion budget-trimming list that she and her staff worked out to jumpstart the fiscal discussion, since the national debt is currently hovering at $14 trillion. "I will tell you quite clearly--they're painful. They're not easy," Bachmann told Greta Van Susteren on Susteren's show this week about the cuts. "We've got to do this, though."
She encouraged all congressional members to do a similar exercise with their staffs. The Bachmann office list of cuts is extensive, but it's important to note these are not the congresswoman’s formal legislative plan and should not be characterized as such. They are simply meant to kick off the spending discussion.
The list taps in at around $424 billion in budget cuts. Some of the more interesting items include the following:
-- Abolish US Department of Education and invest half of the budget back to the states with block grants. Savings: $23 billion --Require federal employees to fly coach on domestic flights. Savings: $70 million --Eliminate Department of Homeland Security grants to states, letting states finance their own programs. Savings: $2.7 billion --Privatize TSA, FAA, Amtrack. Savings: $14 billion --Reduce National Science Foundation funding to 2008 levels. Savings: $1.7 billion -- Defund Planned Parenthood and affiliated federal grants to abortion facilities. Savings: $630 million