As the House Republicans try to cut some $61 billion in spending this year, Democrats and Republicans are trading charges of heartlessness and timidity -- sometimes both at the same time.
But a comparison of Obama's Top 20 proposed spending cuts with those of the GOP shows some surprising similarities -- and some unexpected differences.
Both Obama and the House GOP would make cuts to Pell Grants for higher education, though Obama would channel the savings into other parts of the Pell program. Both plans would cut money for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and Obama would actually cut more.
Other common targets: Community Development Block Grants, construction money for health care facilities, and so-called "Low Priority" construction projects. (It's not clear why low-priority projects were up for funding in the first place, but that's another issue).
A few caveats. First, even when Obama and the GOP would cut from the same agency, the size of the proposed cuts is often very different. Obama would trim $397 million from programs at the Environmental Protection Agency; the House GOP would ax $3 billion.
Second, the GOP would preserve some programs that Obama would kill -- and vice versa. Obama would save $465 million by killing the Joint Strike Fighter's alternative engine program, which the Pentagon doesn't want anyway. That wasn't on the House GOP list but nonetheless was cut on Wednesday from the continuing resolution despite Speaker Boehner's support for the program.
|Program||Department||Obama's proposed |
cuts for FY2012
|On House GOP |
list for FY2011?
|Pell Grant Protection Act—End Year Round Pell (discretionary)||Education||-$7,617|
|Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program||HHS||-2,530|
|C–17 Transport Aircraft Production||Defense||-2,500|
|Administrative Efficiency Initiative||Gov't-wide||-2,123|
|Repeal Expensing of Intangible Drilling Costs||Energy||-1,875|
|Grants-in-Aid for Airports||Transportation||-1,091|
|Pell Grant Protection Act - End In-School Interest Subsidy for Stafford Loans for Graduate Students||Education||-984|
|Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds||EPA||-947|
|Repeal Domestic Manufacturing Tax Deduction for Oil and Natural Gas Companies||Energy||-902|
|Health Care Pharmaceutical Proposals||HHS||-609|
|Repeal Percentage Depletion for Oil and Natural Gas Wells||Energy||-607|
|Pell Grant Protection Act—End Year Round Pell (mandatory)||Education||-535|
|Joint Strike Fighter Alternate Engine||Defense||-465|
|Senior Community Service Employment Program||HHS||-375|
|Community Services Block Grant||HHS||-350|
|Health Care Facilities and Construction||HHS||-337|
|Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education Payment Program||HHS||-318|
|Low-Priority Construction Projects||Corps of Engineers||-317|
|Community Development Block Grant||HUD||-299|
|Agricultural Research Service Buildings and Facilities||Agriculture||-295|
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