You can stop needling Republicans about what programs they want to cut now. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)'s Republican Study Committee is introducing the Spending Reduction Act of 2011, to cut back "non-security discretionary spending" to 2008 levels and to slice that spending back to 2006 levels from 2012 onward. That, they point out, would keep it "the same level as in effect during the last year of GOP control of the Congress."
The proposal does what Republicans have been talking about for two years -- "repeal" of remaining stimulus funds (now $45 billion), privatizing Fannie and Freddie ($30 billion), repealing Medicaid' FMAP increase ($16.1 billion), and what they estimate at $330 billion in discretionary spending cuts. Highlights of these projected annual savings:
- Cutting the federal workforce by 15 percent through attrition, and do this by allowing only one new federal worker for every two who quit.
- Killing the "fund for Obamacare administrative costs" for $900 million
- Ending Amtrak subsidies for $1.565 billion
- Ending intercity and high speed rail grants for $2.5 billion
- Repealing Davis-Bacon for $1 billion
- Cutting annual general assistance to the District of Columbia by $210 million, and cutting the subsidy for DC's transit authority by $150 million.
Reforms that go after their own perks:
- Cutting the Federal Travel Budget in half, for $7.5 billion
- Cutting the Federal Vehicle Budget by 1/5, for $600 million
- Halve funding for congressional printing - $47 million annual savings
- Ending the death gratuity for members of Congress
And cuts that get revenge for Juan Williams: $445 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, $167.5 million from the NEA, and $167.5 million from the NEH.
"Everything on this list pales in importance to saving the country," said Rep. John Campbell (R-Ca.). "We are much closer to the Greece-Ireland-Spain precipice than any of us would like to believe."
Jordan was asked whether Republicans had calculated how many jobs would be eliminated by these cuts. "We think if you reduce federal government spending, you actually create jobs," said Jordan. He did say that these specific cuts had been brainstormed by the RSC but not presented to House leaders yet.
I asked freshman Rep. Joe Walsh about this too -- specifically, wouldn't the cuts to high-speed rail funds hurt Illinois, because that state was being reappropriated funds that had been allocated to Ohio and Wisconsin?
"High-speed rail is on the table," said Walsh. "It has to be." D.C. Metro funds, too? "My son went to school here, so I know what a great system this is, but everything's on the table."
Another reporter noted that funds for Chicago's metro, the L, were not on the block. "They
be," he said.