After waiting until the absolute last minute to avert a government shutdown last Friday night, the House Appropriations Committee has released the details of the $38 billion dollars in cuts that the President and Congress agreed to for 2011. And even though committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R) might be satisfied with a reduction in non-defense spending that's "nearly five times larger than any other cut in history," the programs who will have their funding "nibbled," as the New York Times so delicately put it, probably aren't as pleased.
The proverbial budget knife, according to the wonks combing through the funding list, slashed the Environmental Protection Agency by $1.6 billion. Progressive darlings' high-speed rail projects were reduced by $2.9 billion, "wiping out funding for all such new projects and taking back money that remained unspent," as the Wall Street Journal noted. And even though President Obama preserved Pell Grants for low-income students, the Times points out that this came with a tradeoff of ending a new Pell grant program for summer school students.
As far as the public health programs, more than $1 billion was cut from sexually transmitted diseases prevention programs, and Planned Parenthood--which proved to be a sticking point in negotiations--received cuts in the form of a $17 million dollar decrease to $300 million in funding of the Title X of the Public Health Service Act, the Times observed. Republicans, however, were successful in "restricting the local government of Washington, D.C., from funding abortions itself," ABC News wrote, which lead to Mayor Vincent Gray protesting in the streets and being subsequently handcuffed then arrested.
Some of the usual suspects actually received an increase in funding. The New York Times noted that the National Nuclear Security Administration (no doubt aided by the precarious situation at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power station) received funding increase of 7 percent, up to $697 million. Another exception, observed the Journal, was the Defense department, which was given a $5 billion dollar increase from previous levels to $513 billion.
Unfortunately, John Boehner didn't get the funding for a special engine for the F-35 fighter jet (a fighter program that costs more than Australia) that he'd been pushing for. His constituents who work at that Ohio factory won't be pleased, Bloomberg noted.
Finally, right in time for the 50th anniversary of manned spaceflight, NASA was given $18.5 billion for a new space exploration program. On to Mars, then.
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