The Republican Study Committee gets a very bad review for its $2.5 trillion proposal to cut almost all domestic non-discretionary spending other than defense from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The RSC’s plan builds on an earlier proposal from House Speaker John Boehner to cut "non-security" discretionary spending by $100 billion in fiscal 2011, which would mean a 21 percent cut in discretionary programs other than defense, homeland security, military construction, and veterans’ benefits, compared to the 2010 level adjusted for inflation.
Boehner’s proposal would represent the deepest annual cut in funding for these programs in recent U.S. history. It would remove substantial purchasing power from a weak economy, thereby costing hundreds of thousands of jobs and raising risks of a double-dip recession.
But, the RSC’s longer term plan, which the 165-member House GOP group unveiled yesterday, would go much, much further. By 2021, it would reduce non-defense appropriations by 42 percent below what the Congressional Budget Office says is needed to maintain last year’s funding level, adjusted only for inflation.
If imposed across the board, such a cut would mean 42 percent less for health care for veterans; 42 percent less for K-12 education; 42 percent less for protecting the environment; 42 percent less for the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and border security; 42 percent less for the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 42 percent less for food safety and inspection; and so on....
In essence, the RSC proposal would eviscerate the vital services and benefits that the federal government provides and that improve the living standards and quality of life for millions of Americans from New York to California, Maine to Texas.
That evisceration, and the resulting uproar from voters across America, is something Speaker Boehner and his budget chair Paul Ryan must be keeping in mind. Meanwhile they have the RSC breathing down his neck, not just with this proposal, but with their campaign pledge to slash spending by $100 billion in this year alone. Beyond those cuts, the RSC's proposal would reduce federal spending to 2006 levels, and hold it there regardless of inflation, for the next 10 years, "significantly lower than the 2008 levels Ryan has promised."
Appeasing their slash and burn, teabagger caucus members, while also figuring out a plan that could keep them in the majority is just the challenge GOP leadership asked for, and deserve. Too bad the well-being of millions of Americans hangs in the balance.