Two ObamaCare programs, four czars eliminated in budget cuts

posted at 8:48 am on April 12, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

House Republicans have released a summary of the final budget bill this morning that outlines the details of the $39 billion in cuts in the agreement between John Boehner and Barack Obama.  The summary breaks down the cuts (and in the case of Defense, increases) by Cabinet-level agency arranged in the traditional order of appropriations bills.  Two efforts seem particularly noteworthy.  First, Labor/HHS funding got cut 3.36% from last year’s levels, and two ObamaCare programs got entirely defunded:

The CR terminates funding for more than 55 programs, for a total savings of well over $1 billion.  In addition, the bill terminates two programs funded in ObamaCare (the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) and the Free Choice Voucher programs).

The Daily Caller gives a little background on CO-OP:

Critics have blasted the CO-OP program as a “stealth public option,” the government insurance plan pushed by liberal Democrats during the consideration of Obamacare.

The program would have received $6 billion in the first ten years to push states into creating non-profit, member-run health insurance co-ops.  It was apparently thrown into the bill when the public option failed in Congress.  Its removal won’t prevent such co-ops from forming, but will leave it to states to deal with the issue rather than the federal government.

The second item of interest comes in the cuts to Financial Services, which saw a 10% reduction in their appropriation from FY2010 and 14% lower than Obama’s budget request.  Most of the cuts apply to construction of new federal buildings, a rather easy place to cut considering the plethora of open office space in the US.  It increases the funds for the Inspector General of the TARP program and restarts the DC Opportunity Scholarship voucher program, a key goal of Boehner’s, but this is the part that Congress will like best:

The CR restores a long-standing provision against the use of federal and local funds for abortions in the District of Columbia. The bill also includes the reauthorization of the DC Opportunity Scholarships, along with a $2.3 million funding increase, to stop the termination of the program and allow new students to participate. The legislation also eliminates four Administration “Czars,” including the “Health Care Czar,” the “Climate Change Czar,” the “Car Czar,” and the “Urban Affairs Czar.”

This list includes three of the most offensive “czars” in the Romanov wing of the Obama administration.  Obama has an HHS Secretary in Kathleen Sebelius, so he doesn’t need a “czar” on health care.  Likewise, his Cabinet includes a Secretary of Energy (Stephen Chu) and Interior (Ken Salazar), so why does the administration need a “climate change czar”?  The government shouldn’t even be in the car business, so the car czar has to go.  And while the “Urban Affairs Czar” hasn’t gotten much press, shouldn’t Shaun Donovan’s role as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development cover, er, urban affairs?

Four czars and two ObamaCare programs ended up getting the axe in the funding bill.  That’s not a bad start.  Here are the dollar figures stated in the summary for each department, in billions for apples-to-apples comparions:

  • Agriculture: $3 billion cut from FY10 level, $3.2 billion less than Obama budget request
  • Commerce/Justice/Science: $10.9 billion cut from FY10 level, $7.1 billion less than Obama request
  • Defense: $5 billion increase from FY10
  • Energy/Water: $3.6 billion cut from FY10, $1.7 billion less than Obama request
  • Financial Services: $2.4 billion cut from FY10, $3.4 billion less than Obama request
  • Homeland Security: $0.784 billion cut from FY10, $1.9 billion below Obama request
  • Interior: $2.62 billion cut from FY10, $2.8 billion below Obama request
  • Labor/HHS/Education: $5.5 billion cut from FY10, $13 billion below Obama request
  • Legislature: $0.103 billion cut from FY10
  • Military Construction/Veterans Affairs: $0.6 billion increase over FY10, $3.4 billion more than Obama request
  • State/Foreign Operations: $0.504 billion cut from FY10, $8.4 billion below Obama request
  • Transportation/HUD: $12.3 billion cut from FY10, $13.2 billion below Obama request

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Good start – now just get rid of Cass Sunstein.

cktheman on April 12, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Keep on swingin’ that axe!

And a chop-chop here!
And a chop-chop there!
Here a chop!
There a chop!
EVERYWHERE A CHOP-CHOP!

pilamaye on April 12, 2011 at 8:52 AM

The bad part is that the AP and Reuters are reporting that Obama was able, through accounting tricks, to protect MANY other of his cherished programs and that the cuts are not nearly as deep as they appear.

I still think this was the best deal we could have gotten and think it is still an important (yet modest) win for Republicans, but this is really just a baby step.

Indy82 on April 12, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Some cracks beginning to form on the foundation of the House of Obama?

Could be…

turfmann on April 12, 2011 at 8:52 AM

agree, a good start…

cmsinaz on April 12, 2011 at 8:54 AM

Okay, that’s tee-ninesty start.

Now, let’s adopt the 2 step Pappy Plan to save the nations’ fiscal health.

1. Seal the border.(9th Circuit ruling not withstanding, this could save untold BILLIONS in entitlements for the Feds and States).

2. 10% Across the board Federal spending cuts.(This year alone that would mean a cut of over $300 billion). Then do it all over again next year, and the year after that, etc.

PappyD61 on April 12, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Well…

Two ObamaCare programs and four czars gone isn’t a bad start, and I certainly look forward to that being finalized.

But it’s only a start, and our leadership really needs to work on that backbone.

Thought: Is the left really so dedicated to abortion that it’s willing to sacrifice elements of universal health care to protect funding for Planned Parenthood?

amerpundit on April 12, 2011 at 8:56 AM

Not bad, it’s a good start, but just a start. That being said, I think the GOP settled for much less than they could have for one main reason: Even if we won the PR war over shutting the government down, it would limit our tactical options for the 2012 budget. And 2012 is the budget fight we have to win. The 2012 budget is where the Democrats are going to try and find all kinds of ways to funnel federal dollars to their unions and pet “nonprofits,” knowing they will personally get some of that money back. 2012 is where we have to hold the line.

Sekhmet on April 12, 2011 at 8:57 AM

then you read the headlines on the main page and go huh?

slight of hand?

cmsinaz on April 12, 2011 at 8:57 AM

amerpundit on April 12, 2011 at 8:56 AM

yes…sad to say

cmsinaz on April 12, 2011 at 8:57 AM

Now if we could just eliminate that Golf Czar position.

KS Rex on April 12, 2011 at 8:58 AM

then you read the headlines on the main page and go huh?

slight of hand?

cmsinaz on April 12, 2011 at 8:57 AM

I do think eliminating czar positions (think the Chicago left that was pushing for government slush funds) and two ObamaCare programs will save more money over time.

amerpundit on April 12, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Great! Get rid of all czars. More cuts please.
L

letget on April 12, 2011 at 8:59 AM

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

rbj on April 12, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Thought: Is the left really so dedicated to abortion that it’s willing to sacrifice elements of universal health care to protect funding for Planned Parenthood?

amerpundit on April 12, 2011 at 8:56 AM

Of course. It’s a lot easy to get rid of problem people before they’re born than after. “‘Health’ ‘care’ ‘reform’” takes care of the second problem, but abortion deals very “nicely” with the first one.

WesternActor on April 12, 2011 at 9:00 AM

amerpundit on April 12, 2011 at 8:58 AM

no argument here, its just that you read this and then you read the main page headline and it feels surreal…

cmsinaz on April 12, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Of course. It’s a lot easy to get rid of problem people before they’re born than after. “‘Health’ ‘care’ ‘reform’” takes care of the second problem, but abortion deals very “nicely” with the first one.

WesternActor on April 12, 2011 at 9:00 AM

It seems that Planned Parenthood defunding could be a useful bargaining chip over the next year or so.

no argument here, its just that you read this and then you read the main page headline and it feels surreal…

cmsinaz on April 12, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Agreed. We won’t know the full story until the final bill is passed.

amerpundit on April 12, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Whose to say Barry won’t just ignore the cuts and continue with the czars and the Obamacare programs? I’m sure the money will be pulled from elsewhere. There’s plenty left over from which to funnel funds.

SouthernGent on April 12, 2011 at 9:03 AM

The journey of a thousand miles trillion dollars starts with a single step budget.

rbj on April 12, 2011 at 9:00 AM

right2bright on April 12, 2011 at 9:04 AM

amerpundit on April 12, 2011 at 9:02 AM

yepper

cmsinaz on April 12, 2011 at 9:04 AM

cktheman on April 12, 2011 at 8:50 AM

It’s an ok start, but you have to start somewhere. Think they should get rid of all the czars and their staffs. That’s unemployment I can believe it.

Tommy_G on April 12, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Does this mean the important work these people do won’t get done now? sarc/

hip shot on April 12, 2011 at 9:12 AM

If we keep pressuring our side, keep the volume up, make sure what they have done is good, but needs to be better–but proud of what they have done, now push on and get more…they will feel the momentum, feel the support, and know that they can press on and make even bigger cuts.
You don’t sit on the sidelines and whine about how bad your boys are playing, when they are winning the game…and no doubt the tide has turned and we are winning, now we just have to make sure our boys feel our support, and know we are grateful, but we want more, much more…
Don’t give an inch to the libs, not one iota of hope, we brought them to their knees, where they haven’t been in 40 years…we strike at dawn!

right2bright on April 12, 2011 at 9:10 AM

right2bright on April 12, 2011 at 9:12 AM

It is a good start. But way way way short of what needs to be done to stop this country from falling over a cliff. Keep hitting, GOP. We need trillions cut.

Weight of Glory on April 12, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Spending cuts (“Getting Rid of Stuff”) can be addictive. Anyone out there get on a roll selling your used crap on eBay? It’s astounding what you find lying around that you don’t need. Same goes with all this useless spending.

I think once they *really* get going, it’ll snowball.

cktheman on April 12, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Why couldn’t they get rid of the “Safe Schools” Czar, Kevin Jennings, while they’re at it?

kingsjester on April 12, 2011 at 9:20 AM

The Czar positions have been eliminated, it doesn’t mean they have been eliminated. If they are moved to another area, it will just show that that part of the budget needs to be cut.
Now comes the two prong approach, a 10% across the board (minimum, but fine for the first year), then the the scalpel.

right2bright on April 12, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Too little too late. Pelosi is in full panic. This hurts her greedy little friends.

seven on April 12, 2011 at 9:28 AM

For those who haven’t seen it, this is from InstaPundit, and it debunks the nonsense meme that so many media liberals and RINOs are spewing about these “historic” budget cuts.

They are peanuts.

According to Boaz, Bush increase Federal spending by $1 TRILLION in his 8 years, and O’Bonehead has increased spending $1 TRILLION in 2 years. We need to cut spending by $2 Trillion, and we are beating our chests over $38 billion.

Jaibones on April 12, 2011 at 9:31 AM

I’ve been very critical of the Boehner cave over the past few days. Looking at the line item cuts, maybe it’s not as bad as I thought. Not great, but I guess I should give Boehner some credit.

I still think his biggest blunder was not attacking Obama over the military pay issue the way they attacked Boehner over “Killing Women”. I’d wager 90% of Independents and 60% of Democrats would gave sided with the GOP if the final showdown came to another $15B in cuts vs. no pay for the military.

angryed on April 12, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Chip, chip, chip…

‘Hey, boys! We got the weak spot in the foundation! Get the dynamite down here so we can get this dam busted.’

ajacksonian on April 12, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Thought: Is the left really so dedicated to abortion that it’s willing to sacrifice elements of universal health care ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING to protect funding for Planned Parenthood?

amerpundit on April 12, 2011 at 8:56 AM

Clearly, yes. Which is mystifying. Abortion Uber Alles.

iurockhead on April 12, 2011 at 9:33 AM

It means nothing

True_King on April 12, 2011 at 9:34 AM

WHY haven’t the republicans been talking about this all weekend?

If brains were dynamite they couldn’t blow their noses.

Naturally Curly on April 12, 2011 at 9:36 AM

not good enough, accounting tricks and misdirection.

anikol on April 12, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Humans are the scorch of Gaia, so abortion is the only way to protect her.

anikol on April 12, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Indy82 on April 12, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Yeah, that AP piece is here. One of the best examples of media bias available. Shameful write up by Andrew Taylor.

BKeyser on April 12, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Indy82 on April 12, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Yeah, that AP piece is here. One of the best examples of media bias available. Shameful write up by Andrew Taylor.

BKeyser on April 12, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Ain’t that the truth! From this piece it seems as if the dems really pulled a fast one on the Republicans. Media bias indeed!

Vince on April 12, 2011 at 9:49 AM

The bad part is that the AP and Reuters are reporting that Obama was able, through accounting tricks, to protect MANY other of his cherished programs and that the cuts are not nearly as deep as they appear.

I still think this was the best deal we could have gotten and think it is still an important (yet modest) win for Republicans, but this is really just a baby step.

Indy82 on April 12, 2011 at 8:52 AM

A lot of that is media spin, designed to give liberals comfort that Obama didn’t give away any of their precious progressive agenda, and also to disillusion conservatives.

rockmom on April 12, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Why couldn’t they get rid of the “Safe Schools” Czar, Kevin Jennings, while they’re at it?

kingsjester on April 12, 2011 at 9:20 AM

That’s not a White House job created by this Administration, it is an authorized position within the Education Department. It could be de-funded in the next budget, but only for a year. Congress needs to pass separate legislation to eliminate the position entirely.

rockmom on April 12, 2011 at 9:54 AM

•Transportation/HUD: $12.3 billion cut from FY10, $13.2 billion below Obama request

This is real money, BTW. Those agencies do not have huge budgets, but they do waste a lot of it. HUD has grown new programs like Topsy since the Dems took over in 2007.

rockmom on April 12, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Soon, all your czars are belong to us.

pain train on April 12, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Do we know how much those harvard appointees (czars) are making and how much we save by getting rid of them? Why not the other 30 or so that have no business in the white house?
In 2 years “zero” has not met with most of his cabinet – so why are they getting any money?

Bambi on April 12, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Just so you know, agriculture budget’s an overwhelming % (something like 70-at least it has been in the past) for FOOD STAMP & COMMODITIES programs.
This will really stick it to those dependent liberal voters.
Not that I mind.
It really pi$$e$ me off when I’m struggling to buy a gallong of milk & a loaf of bread & some Yahoo on food stamps in front of me buys a bunch of ciggies & then proceeds to pay for food with the EBT card.

Badger40 on April 12, 2011 at 10:08 AM

And I hear the CRP-Conservation Reserve Program-is paying higher rates & still putting land into the program.
I hear some land the govt is paying $45/acre around here in SW ND for a farmer not to farm.

Badger40 on April 12, 2011 at 10:09 AM

This is nothing. We need real cuts. Not cuts in the rate of growth. Not “cuts” that were really just emergency programs that ran for one year and won’t be continued. Real cuts. Like whole departments.
Right now this 38 billion is still the same politics as usual fool the rubes kabuki.
Republicans are not making the case that it is government spending that is the problem, not government revenues.
Unless they get serious, they are going to be primarried.

Iblis on April 12, 2011 at 10:14 AM

No. We want the ALL out.

CynicalOptimist on April 12, 2011 at 10:21 AM

If we add up the numbers in Ed’s summary table, we get $36.1 billion in net cuts (including a $5.6 billion increase for the military) relative to FY 2010, and $51.3 billion in net cuts relative to Obama’s proposed budget.

Why do people talk about $38 billion in cuts from FY 2010 and $80 billion in cuts relative to Obama’s proposal? Where are the rest of the cuts?

Oh, I know, math is hard. Just ask Judge Kloppenberg.

Steve Z on April 12, 2011 at 10:23 AM

I’m starting to feel like Lando Calrissian after Vader “Altered the Deal”.

Iblis on April 12, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Getting rid of czars is window dressing. The republicans know that conservatives hate that czar nonsense. Now they can point to their elimination and say see, see. Now if they were to kill Ocare completely, I would stand up and cheer.

Kissmygrits on April 12, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Can someone explain the Food Stamps program with respect to college students and/or use for eating ready made foods?

I have heard several times on the news about college students being urged to sign up for food stamps (I think it is called the SNAP program now?).

Am I making a leap in thinking here to believe that college cafeterias/meal programs are accepting food stamps in payment? Are kids “establishing residence” at college as indigent so that they can qualify for food stamps (the same way they vote twice)?

Is the SNAP card (used to be Freedom Card) accepted at places like restaurants, McDonalds, for ready made food at 7-11, etc.?

Greyledge Gal on April 12, 2011 at 10:41 AM

This is nothing. We need real cuts. Not cuts in the rate of growth. Not “cuts” that were really just emergency programs that ran for one year and won’t be continued. Real cuts. Like whole departments.
Right now this 38 billion is still the same politics as usual fool the rubes kabuki.
Republicans are not making the case that it is government spending that is the problem, not government revenues.
Unless they get serious, they are going to be primarried.

Iblis on April 12, 2011 at 10:14 AM

I put the 3.6 TRILLION in a spreadsheet with all of the zeros. I put 38 BILLION in the cell below with all of the zeros.

Then in the 2 lines below, I eliminated the same number of zeros from both numbers above and ended up with 38 CENTS for the cuts and $36,000 for the budget.

So to bring it down to comprehensible numbers, what Congress just did was the same as an employer cutting a $36,000 a year salary by 38 cents.

That doesn’t even buy anything on the dollar menu at Mickey D’s.

Pffffftttttttttttttt

karenhasfreedom on April 12, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Now if we could just eliminate that Golf Czar position.

KS Rex on April 12, 2011 at 8:58 AM

That will be in the 2012 election!

dominigan on April 12, 2011 at 10:49 AM

rockmom on April 12, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Okay, But, whom does the Secretary of the Department of Education answer to?

kingsjester on April 12, 2011 at 10:54 AM

OT: but could we get Boehner etc to look into this:

GWP- via Doug Ross and corruption chronicles says that we are spending 1,600 per Mexican truck (55 already) to convert them so that their emissions are cleaner, but that our own truck companies have to pay for the conversion themselves. Money is coming from the EPA.

journeyintothewhirlwind on April 12, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Okay, But, whom does the Secretary of the Department of Education answer to?

kingsjester on April 12, 2011 at 10:54 AM

All the assistant secretary and deputy secertary positions in every agency (.e. those that are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate) are established by the laws that created the agencies. General employment levels in the agencies can be reduced by Congress in annual approriations bills for those agencies, but only for a year at a time. Congress must pass a new law to permanently eliminate an assistant secretary position. It’s been done quite a few times in recent years. HUD used to have an Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, but Congress eliminated it in 2008.

Since No Child Left Behind is up for reauthorization, Congress could easily eliminate Jennings’ position and several others. And they should.

rockmom on April 12, 2011 at 11:04 AM

All smoke and mirrors, folks, by our own party. (See article on Drudge) Except for a handful, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties when it comes to conning us out of our money to keep their big government going. Nothing is going to change. They play us like a bunch of fools, and we keep falling for it, wanting to believe they have our best interests at heart. I don’t trust any of them any more, especially Boehner. It’s all about power to them.

silvernana on April 12, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Well, the AP story above the fold claims these cuts were only “leftover” monies that Obama had targeted anyway.

This deal is a condescending swindle.

rrpjr on April 12, 2011 at 11:14 AM

A good start…

silvernana on April 12, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Regarding your comments: if the Republicans do not get a handle on the budget, they will be replaced THIS Decade BY THE TEA PARTY… The DIMocrats are too well entrenched with the GIMME MINE part of the country to ever be completely eliminated as a political party (pity)…

Khun Joe on April 12, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Can someone explain the Food Stamps program with respect to college students and/or use for eating ready made foods?

I have heard several times on the news about college students being urged to sign up for food stamps (I think it is called the SNAP program now?).

Am I making a leap in thinking here to believe that college cafeterias/meal programs are accepting food stamps in payment? Are kids “establishing residence” at college as indigent so that they can qualify for food stamps (the same way they vote twice)?

Is the SNAP card (used to be Freedom Card) accepted at places like restaurants, McDonalds, for ready made food at 7-11, etc.?

Greyledge Gal on April 12, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Look at this horrifying graph of food-stamp use: Obama’s Recovery

The welfare reforms that were pushed through Bill Clinton’s administration are being undone.

Obama started increasing welfare spending immediately after assuming office. The stimulus bill included $220 billion in new means-tested spending, including a little-noticed provision that repealed one of the key welfare reforms of the Clinton era.

slickwillie2001 on April 12, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Big Whoop….they’ve manages to remove one straw from an entire bale of hay……doesn’t even come close & neither does Paul Ryan’s budget…..MUST COMPLETELY DEFUND OBAMACARE!!

huskerdiva on April 12, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Yep, it’s a start.

Bob's Kid on April 12, 2011 at 12:26 PM

I don’t see any cuts to the Department of Education. It needs to be completely cut and some portion of those funds given to the states in the form of block grants for education.

crosspatch on April 12, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Good start – now just get rid of Cass Sunstein.

cktheman on April 12, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Homer Simpson says NO to Cass.

disa on April 12, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Why couldn’t they get rid of the “Safe Schools” Czar, Kevin Jennings, while they’re at it?

kingsjester on April 12, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Great question. But The Fisters are pretty united behind that guy. (SFW and funny)

After all, he is educating the children!

That may change with the latest Fistgate scandal, which exposed Obama’s Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jenning’s proclivity to teach young children such non-conventional sexual techniques as fisting.

Fisters of the world, UNITE!

NTWR on April 12, 2011 at 1:28 PM

It looks like Kevin Jennings, the homosexual activist and founder of Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), “Safe School” Czar is here to stay along with his reading list for our children. Here is his reading list for our children, with excerpts:

http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2009/12/breaking-obamas-safe-schools-czar-is-promoting-porn-in-the-classroom-kevin-jennings-and-the-glsen-reading-list/

sinsing on April 12, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Does anyone know how much money the czars make?

StephC on April 12, 2011 at 3:30 PM

I’ve been very critical of the Boehner cave over the past few days. Looking at the line item cuts, maybe it’s not as bad as I thought. Not great, but I guess I should give Boehner some credit.

angryed

You might want to look a little deeper. The cuts are even less than they seem. The 4 czar positions no longer exist anyway, so this was merely a symbolic victory. Plus, the cuts include about $10 billion carried forward from previous CRs, so the actual cut is about $28 billion, not $38 billion.

xblade on April 12, 2011 at 5:56 PM