Highlights of spending cuts, past and pending

AP News
Posted: Apr 11, 2011 5:18 PM
Highlights of spending cuts, past and pending

Some details of the bipartisan spending measure agreed to Friday night by President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Reid, D-Nev.

The House and Senate appropriations committees were still working Monday on determining specific cuts and program levels for the next six months. House and Senate votes on it are expected this week. The spending cuts total almost $38 billion below current levels. Some $12 billion in cuts already have been enacted as part of three stopgap spending measures, including:

_$5.3 billion from several accounts previously used by lawmakers to "earmark" pet projects for their districts and states.

_$1.7 billion from leftover funds from the 2010 Census.

_$1.5 billion from high-speed rail grants, as requested by Obama.

_$650 million by not repeating a one-time appropriation for highway projects.

_$468 million from several education programs targeted by Obama.

_$350 million from Labor Department programs, including grants for community service jobs for senior citizens.

_$276 million pandemic flu prevention programs, as requested by Obama.

_$200 million from unspent wildfire funds.

_$200 million from unspent Social Security Administration Internet technology funds.


Additional cuts likely to be reflected in this week's legislation include:

_$4.2 billion in defense accounts previously earmarked.

_$2.5 billion from Labor Department and Health and Human Services Department programs, including $390 million from heating subsidies and $300 million more from Social Security Administration information technology.

_$1.1 billion from an across-the-board cut to domestic accounts.

_$700 million from clean and safe drinking water projects.

_$630 million from military construction and the Veterans Affairs Department.

_$495 million from first responder grants.

_$350 million by not repeating emergency aid for milk farmers.


Non-appropriated savings:

Almost half of the savings in the budget deal, some $17.8 billion, don't involve cuts to agency operating accounts that critics of spending prefer to target. They involve reductions in what can be spent on so-called mandatory programs whose budgets run mostly on autopilot. Often the amount actually spent isn't affected. Such cuts officially count as savings that then can be used to pay for spending elsewhere. They often have little real impact in terms of cutting the deficit.

_$5 billion in "phantom" savings by capping the amount that can be paid out from a Justice Department trust fund for crime victims. Under arcane budget rules, appropriators can annually claim the full amount of money in the trust fund as savings. Another $400 million comes from similar savings by capping a Treasury Department fund to help pay for the department's crime-fighting efforts.

_$3.5 billion in unused Children's Health Insurance Program funds.

_$2.5 billion in leftover highway money unavailable under current budget caps.

_$2.2 billion in cuts to subsidies for health care cooperatives that are to be funded under Obama's health care law.

_$500 million from eliminating summer school Pell Grants for college students from low-income families.