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CR Unveiled -- Deep Cuts to Everything But the Military

April 12, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Early Tuesday morning, the House Appropriations released full details of the 6-month government funding bill that was recently negotiated between the White House and Democrats and Republicans in Congress. The Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs would see their funding increase under the bill, but every other agency would face significant cutbacks, with the largest cuts coming from the Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. With the government facing another shutdown deadline this Friday, the bill is expected to be passed by the House quickly (once again in violation of the Republicans’ 72-hour pledge) and approved by the Senate without any changes.

While a full-year budget bill is set for debate next, the 6-month CR is significant in that it will establish new baselines for program funding that will have long-lasting impacts on how the budget is conceived. The funding arc for military operations will continue to rise, but funding for almost all other government services will be on a downward trend. With the austerity mindset in the legislative process, it’s highly unlikely that any areas that see cuts or elimination under this bill will be restored any time soon.

While we work on getting the full legislative text on OpenCongress for you to review, here’s a small taste of what will be cut under the bill:

  • Funding for data transparency and civic engagement projects would re reduced by 75%. More from Sunlight Foundation.
  • Funding for new high speed rail projects would be eliminated and existing projects would be cut by $1.5 billion, more than 50%.
  • Community health centers would lose $600 million and sexually transmitted disease prevention funds would be reduced by $1 billion.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency would see an across-the-board 16% cut.
  • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) would be cut by $500 million, from $7.3 billion to $6.8 billion.
  • The “Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan” (CO-OP) that was created by the new health care reform law to foster the creation of non-profit health insurers to compete with for-profit companies would be eliminated.
  • “Free Choice Vouchers,” another health care reform creation, would be eliminated. They wee designed to allow employees to opt out of the plan offered by their employer and shop for a plan they prefer while still receiving the employer’s contribution.

The above is just a tiny sliver of what’s in the bill. House Republicans have put out a list of cuts in the bill, but it doesn’t provide enough contextual information to for one to easily grasp the significance of specific items. Follow OpenCongress on Twitter for more reports/revelations throughout the day on what’s in the bill as it’s dug through.

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