Republicans controlling the House promised Thursday to wring $32 billion from this year's budget in their drive to bring domestic spending down to levels in place before President Barack Obama took office.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan announced the move as the first salvo in a battle with Obama as they seek to cut domestic agency budgets by almost 20 percent over the upcoming year.
The cuts would bring huge changes to agencies used to budget boosts during Obama's first two years in office. The White House has vowed to fight them, saying such decreases could lead to widespread furloughs of federal employees and force vulnerable people off of subsidized housing, reduce services in national parks, and slash aid to schools and local police and fire departments.
Republicans made a campaign promise to cut $100 billion from Obama's request for domestic agencies, such as the Department of Education, for the budget year that began in October. With the budget year already under way, they're falling short. But they promise to try to fully impose the dramatic cuts during what is sure to be a contentious budget debate this year.
The GOP promise was to reduce spending for domestic agencies whose budgets are set by Congress each year back to levels in place under the last budget approved by former President George W. Bush.
The $100 billion savings figure is measured against Obama's budget request, but the actual savings would be less since Obama's budget boosts were never approved and the government is operating at 2010 levels. The actual savings from domestic programs—the Pentagon and the departments of Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs would receive budget increases—would be about $86 billion.