For the next three years, Congress will have to get used to the idea of not spending at a rate higher than inflation on many domestic programs if President Barack Obama’s plans for cutting the budget deficit are embraced.
The proposal would cover everything from farm subsidies to education, according to The New York Times, but would exempt security-related budgets for the Pentagon, as well as foreign aid, Veterans Affairs, and the biggest and fastest-growing part of the federal budget: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
The push comes as the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has outlined a $1.3 trillion deficit this fiscal year and federal deficits exceeding $6 trillion for the decade ahead (via Fox News). The White House says its three-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending would save $250 billion over 10 years. Obama is expected to formally announce the plan in tonight’s State of the Union address.
The proposal is turning out to be a tough sell on Capitol Hill, as Obama’s liberal base claims the spending cap could slow the economic recovery, and conservatives poo-poo the effort as insufficient, writes The Hill. But both of Colorado’s U.S. senators, Democrats Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, are on board, notes the Denver Business Journal.
“Washington’s spending has been out of control for far too long,” Bennet (pictured) says in a statement that is being blasted as “hypocrisy” by Republican Jane Norton, one of his possible opponents in this year’s Senate race. Norton points to Bennet’s support of spending for health-care reform.