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Some Early Remaks on Bush's '08 Budget Proposal

February 6, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

On Monday, President Bush issued a 2,500 page, four-volume tome outlining his $2.9 trillion federal budget proposal for fiscal year 2008. It will take some time for all the details of the the Bush budget proposal to be digested, but some analyses of its general trends are already emerging.

Congress Daily provided this view of discretionary spending (the optional spending determined in the budget each year, as opposed to mandatory spending on entitlements) in the proposal:

Bush proposed $929.8 billion in discretionary spending for FY08, which assumes a 1 percent increase — less than the rate of inflation — in all spending other than defense, homeland security and international assistance. Take veterans’ benefit increases from the equation and total domestic spending drops to a freeze, which amounts to overall cuts when inflation is factored in.

Spratt (D-SC) called the 1 percent advertised rate of growth “modest” but noted education programs would be cut $1.5 billion in FY08 below the levels contained in the House-passed FY07 joint funding resolution, which is pending Senate approval. That is a 2.6 percent cut from the proposed FY07 level of $57.5 billion.

Overall spending for the Labor, Education and HHS departments would be cut 2 percent, or $3.1 billion from FY07-proposed levels. Funding for cancer and heart disease research and low-income heating subsidies would be cut below FY07.

Over at The Hill Blog, members of Congress have been weighing in with their opinions of the budget proposal:

Representative Michael Castle (R-DE) respectfully suggested that the budget must “take into account significant obstacles like record spending on entitlement programs due to the baby boom generation as well as a very difficult alternative minimum tax fix and the impact that will have on the overall goal.” He wants to be sure that “honest accounting” precludes “politically motivated gimmicks.”

Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) writes that the budget falls short in several areas: “While the President’s budget sends hundreds of billions more to Iraq, it drastically underfunds the Department of Veterans Affairs, which administers the health care programs that will help the nearly 20,000 Wisconsin troops deployed since 2001 to heal from the physical and psychological traumas of war.”

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) sees both pros and cons in the proposal. She is “pleased that the President’s budget includes $1 billion for strengthened border protection, infrastructure and technology, and funding for 3,000 new border patrol agents to help secure our land borders,” but she is concerned about “chronic and troubling under funding of first responder grant programs.”

Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) claims that the president is contradicting himself on healthcare. To Pallone, the budget shows that President Bush’s statements about healthcare, in last week’s State of the Union address, were “nothing but empty rhetoric as the president proposed a budget Monday that includes serious cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and does not provide enough money to maintain current services to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).”

There are several more posts about the budget on The Hill Blog, and I am sure that even more will continue to roll in.

Also, the AP has collected some quotes about Bush’s 2008 budget proposal here.

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