Andrew Taylor, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Low-income students may get smaller grants and the newly disabled might have to wait longer for their benefits. And just about every politician is going to get an earful from the local PTA if school aid gets whacked.
Republicans are finding it's one thing to issue a blanket promise to cut spending, an entirely different matter when you actually take the scissors to $1 of every $6 spent by agencies like the IRS, the FBI, NASA and the National Park Service.
Federal layoffs would be unavoidable, the White House warns.
That's the real-world impact of House Republicans' campaign promise to cut $100 billion from the budgets of domestic agencies. Next week, they plan to vote on a resolution setting appropriations for the rest of the year at 2008 pre-recession levels. before President Barack Obama took office.
The vote will be largely symbolic. The actual cuts would have to be made in appropriations bills that would have to clear a 60-vote hurdle in the Senate, where Republicans hold only 47 seats.
The $100 billion promise, contained in the GOP's "Pledge to America" campaign manifesto, is based on cuts from Obama's budget recommendations for 2011, but the actual savings in returning to Bush-era levels would be a little less since the government is operating at last year's slightly lower budget.
Still, compared with 2010 rates and assuming a full year of implementation, Republicans are promising to cut up to $84 billion from nine appropriations bills, cuts that would average 18 percent. Some Republicans, especially in the Senate, may join Democrats in balking when they see their size.
A return to 2008 levels would mean significant cuts for lots of programs favored by Republicans, including an 8% cut to NASA, a 16% cut for the FBI and a 13% cut in the operating budget of the national parks.