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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