Yesterday, House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) set the overall FY2011 House discretionary budget authority level at $1,054.7 billion (or if you prefer, $1.05 trillion), with “non-security” at a claimed “FY2008-for-the-rest-of-the-year” $419.8 billion. Meanwhile, House Appropriations Committee chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) set the levels of the 12 individual components of said authority. I do have good news, bad news, and ugly news, which I’ll summarize after the revealing chart (side note; it was a beast to actually find the FY2008 budget authority amounts). Portions of the chart should look familiar – the FY2010, the Obama proposed numbers, and the House FY2011 numbers were included in Rep. Rogers’ release. I cobbled together the FY2008 numbers from the final House Reports on the 2008 Defense appropriations bill and the 2008 omnibus bill, then crunched together a final column which I’ll explain in a bit.
The good news is, outside of the parts of government that are under the purview of the Defense subcommittee, those are actual cuts from what was spent last year. Specifically on the “non-security” end, that’s a $42.6 billion cut from FY2010 levels, and a $58.0 billion reduction from what Obama wanted to spend this year.
That’s where the good news ends. Despite it being, in some cases, quite significant in percentage terms, the overall cut is but a drop in the $1,480 billion ocean of deficit projected for FY2011 if nothing at all changes.
On a policy level, that isn’t exactly a full-on return to FY2008 levels for FY2011 to which the House Republican Conference sure seemed to pledge, and which a significant portion of the Republican Study Committee wants for the entire fiscal year. Depending on whether one measures from the FY2010 numbers as the RSC did or the Obama proposal as the HRC did, that would have been an $82.9 billion cut (an undersell by the RSC, which estimated an $80 billion cut) or a $98.3 billion reduction (an oversell by the HRC, which estimated a $100 billion reduction). It still wouldn’t move the deficit off of a new record, but it would be a second drop.
Now, for the ugly news. I also included a column showing what discretionary spending would be if one were to assume the first 5 months at pro-rated FY2010 levels (which the government is supposedly limited to under the various continuing resoultions) and the last 7 at pro-rated FY2008 levels. It looks like they missed the mark by $5.7 billion.
Revisions/extensions (2:01 am 2/4/2011) - With that said, it is important to note this is just for FY2011, and that comprises, depending on whether one counts from the day the Republicans retook the House or the last day of the current continuing resolution, 9 months or 7 months respectively. Neither President Obama nor Rep. Ryan have put together a FY2012 budget yet. I haven’t taken a look at what knocking spending down to FY2006 levels starting in FY2012 will do on a 12-month basis (it’s quite late), though I strongly suspect that it would bring a 12-month actual cut to over $100 billion.