GOP set to roll out $2.5 trillion in cuts over next 10 years

posted at 10:12 am on January 20, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

First came the ObamaCare repeal vote, and now Republicans on Capitol Hill will roll out their next effort to fulfill their midterm campaign pledges: massive budget cuts.  The Daily Caller reports that the GOP in both chambers will introduce bills to strike $2.5 trillion in discretionary spending over the next ten years in order to bring federal spending in those areas to 2006 levels.  However, Republicans expect considerable pushback from the White House and Democrats in the Senate:

Jordan’s “Spending Reduction Act” would eliminate such things as the U.S. Agency for International Development and its $1.39 billion annual budget, the $445 million annual subsidy for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the $1.5 billion annual subsidy for Amtrak, $2.5 billion in high speed rail grants, the $150 million subsidy for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and it would cut in half to $7.5 billion the federal travel budget.

But the program eliminations and reductions would account for only $330 billion of the $2.5 trillion in cuts. The bulk of the cuts would come from returning non-defense discretionary spending – which is currently $670 billion out of a $3.8 trillion budget for the 2011 fiscal year – to the 2006 level of $496.7 billion, through 2021.

Going back to 2006 levels would reduce spending by $2.3 trillion over ten years. It is a significantly more drastic cut than the one proposed by House Republican leadership in the Pledge to America last fall, which proposed moving non-defense, non-mandatory spending for the current fiscal year back to 2008 levels, which was $522.3 billion. Jordan’s proposal includes the recommendation from the Pledge for the current fiscal year, which ends in September.

The proposal would cut the federal work force by 15 percent and freeze automatic pay raises for government employees for five years.

Republicans will certainly score some points with their base for following through on cuts, especially since they go even further than promised.  This essentially takes the federal budget back to the level last approved by Republicans, at least in non-defense discretionary spending.  Eliminating subsidies for public broadcasting and Amtrak will play well with Tea Party activists and other grassroots conservatives.

It makes a great start on deficit reduction — but only a start, and really only an appetizer.  The cuts amount to an average reduction of around $250 billion a year, which amounts to only one-sixth of the federal deficit this year.  The main drivers of deficit spending are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other mandatory spending on entitlements.  Even if Democrats agreed to these cuts, Congress would have to raise the debt ceiling by a significant amount to allow Treasury to sell bonds to fill the gap.

And don’t expect cheers from the White House in any case.  Jordan’s bill ends the stimulus program and sends its remaining $45 billion back towards deficit reduction, which means the end of $6 billion earmarked for states already in budgetary crises.  Another $16 billion meant to bolster Medicaid will make that situation even worse, since it will transfer more costs to the states (or more accurately, keep the states from transferring costs to the federal government) and set back the ObamaCare rollout.  Expect Democrats to ramp up attacks on spending cuts using the same anecdotal strategy they attempted with the ObamaCare repeal vote this week.

Republicans have begun their majority session in the House well, but they will need to strengthen their resolve in the weeks ahead — especially since they will have to address entitlements in order to adhere to their midterm promises.

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where do you idiots come from “get rid of Social Security” moron speaking there…

NRA Lifer on January 20, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Start with farm subsidies. I think that’s like $20 Billion. If a farmer can’t make a crop pay, he should not be growing that crop. Inflated prices for corn due to ethanol, supported with subsidies as well? Insanity.

JeffB. on January 20, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Not enough.

Not nearly enough….

Mcguyver on January 20, 2011 at 3:24 PM


…but a very good start!!!

landlines on January 20, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Wow, be sure to put some ice on that strain when you get a chance. The “Too much” part of the subhead intends to anticipate the Democratic pushback, which you’d know if you had read the actual post.

Ed Morrissey on January 20, 2011 at 10:27 AM

For one, I hear the ice is plentiful in “Minnesouda”…has it lost it’s chill?

For two, knowing that the majority of your readers are conservatives, why not cater to them with a simple sub-title: ‘Not enough!’ ….?

Why do you feel the need to cater to liberals whom we need to defeat!?

Perhaps your house is too cozy and warm and you need to chill by shoveling some snow, instead of doling out “liberal fluff object lessons”…..!


Sorry, Cheney suggesting that we limit pistol magazine sizes has put me over the top.

Who’s next to turn into “sickly liberal looking mush”…..!? Rush Limbaugh?

Mcguyver on January 20, 2011 at 3:46 PM




How come there ain’t no cut to these

Dave Rywall on January 20, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Dave Rywall on January 20, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Hello troll, long time no see.

angryed on January 20, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Defense spending cuts can be found here (cuts made by DoD, not Congress). The article is in the WaPo, so as a liberal, you can trust it.

Pharma isn’t a government agency, and neither is Oil.

But I don’t expect that you would know that.

BobMbx on January 20, 2011 at 4:25 PM

A great start! I’m excited. Getting at Social Security and Medicare structural issues is next.

MTF on January 20, 2011 at 4:46 PM




How come there ain’t no cut to these

Dave Rywall on January 20, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Not sure what you mean by OIL and PHARMA – what does the government spend now for oil? And are you suggesting that Medicare stop covering prescriptions? Why do you hate old people?

As for defense, I agree with you, there should be massive cuts and closing of bases around the world. Wind it down in Afghanistan. Let Europe handle its own defense. Tell China we are pulling out of Korea but will send the ICBMs if anything happens there.

rockmom on January 20, 2011 at 4:59 PM

It’s a start.

pugwriter on January 20, 2011 at 5:07 PM

If it was $2 trillion over 5 years I’d be impressed. AT least we might be somewhat out of the debt hole after ten years at that rate. These guys are just tinkering at the margins….. but as long as they are at the margins, where is the abolishment of the NEA, NPR, the FCC, and the Dept of Education?

kens on January 20, 2011 at 5:10 PM


“Targeted cuts make for nice politics.”

Targeted cuts make for effective politics, especially when you need to win the other half of the Hill to get the big controversial stuff done long term. Maybe somebody could explain to me how Republicans are supposed to reform S.S. and Medicaid before that day, and why they’re willing to risk ending up with only half a Hill and a Democrat in the White House for 6 more years instead of two, just to make what will end up being a symbolic point, if not an epic fail.

“I would like to see the branches of government recognize their sovereign powers with their checks and balances and respect them: not play politics with them.”

You may be the only person I know who thinks the three branches of government would ever be inclined to respect their own boundaries. That’s why we have checks and balances in the first place, no?

I agree that the slackers in Congress who have turned de facto legislation over to rule making regulators have dangerously empowered the Executive Branch at their own expense. But you need to eliminate bureaucracies, not just defund them, only to see them rise from the grave a couple years later. That’s how we got here.

Oversight is also a key piece of that raw power you’re touting — and a check that can be fully exercised by the House, regardless of who controls the Senate. Republicans only control the purse to the extent that disbursement bills must originate in the House, before running the Senate/White House gauntlet. Even Paul Ryan will tell you that defunding itself is not nearly as easy as it might sound.

“A civil change is necessary and the power structure allows for it”

Yes, it’s called election 2012. Lose that, lose it all. The politics are important.

JM Hanes on January 20, 2011 at 7:21 PM

$2.5 billion in high speed rail grants,

You mean I won’t be able to take the high speed train from
Chicago to Milwaukee?

Whatever will I do///

Knucklehead on January 20, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Walker just nixed the new one. Thank you very much Scott!

wi farmgirl on January 20, 2011 at 8:20 PM

Cut them all, top to bottom. Get rid of the federal departments alphabet soup.

Dandapani on January 20, 2011 at 9:41 PM

Just do it!

TN Mom on January 20, 2011 at 11:48 PM

I particularly like give’n prisoners tax refunds




donabernathy on January 21, 2011 at 12:04 AM

14 Billion for a 3 and 1/2 mile tunnel

thanks Teddy


donabernathy on January 21, 2011 at 12:06 AM

GOOD START like seeing some actual “elimination” in the cuts rather than the regular lets just reshape the blob letting some go here and there to only grow back later.

My fear is Obamacare. I see the token repeal that is a non-starter but I am already starting to hear whisper of “reshape the blob” talk seeping in. The Repub healthcare plan should be freedom and deregulation not a Republobamacare version that is obamacare light which will just grow in time.

The Economy:
The Republican stimulus should be lets untie the american business hands so we can create jobs out compete China and start re-outsourcing our jobs back to the States. De-regulation de-regulation de-regulation.

C-Low on January 21, 2011 at 8:36 AM

No cuts in defense except for waste. Get rid of the IRS and implement The Fair Tax or a Flat tax. Get rid of Welfare. Get rid of the Dept. of Education. Get rid of the EPA. No subsidies at all. No foreign aid.

ReneePA on January 21, 2011 at 12:02 PM

They are going to trim in ten years what the Government has spent in one year? I hope that this is just a start.

SGinNC on January 21, 2011 at 1:12 PM