Washington’s 2012 budget fight moved from the realm of ideas and outlines to specifics on Wednesday night.
House Republicans released their so-called “allocations,” the amount of money each Appropriations subcommittee will get to divvy up for various programs as they begin drafting the 2012 spending bills. The spending caps set out on Wednesday aim to put the House GOP’s budget blueprint-a nonbinding proposal approved last month-into concrete legislation.
As such, it includes $46 billion in cuts from fiscal 2011 levels, all taken out of non-security spending. “The Appropriations bills this year will include double-digit reductions for virtually every non-security area of government,” said Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., in a statement.
“Many of these cuts will not win any popularity contests,” he added, “but these types of reductions are imperative to overcoming our unparalleled fiscal crisis so that we can get our economy moving, create jobs and provide future financial security.”
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, quickly denounced the GOP budget allocations. The 3rd District Congresswoman said the GOP proposal would be “catastrophic” for low and middle-income families who depend on key government programs.
DeLauro is the ranking Democrat on the Labor, Education, Health, and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, which would be particularly hard hit, absorbing more than $18 billion in cuts compared to the current fiscal year funding levels.
DeLauro said the GOP allocations would force the committee to make deep cuts in a range of programs-from Head Start to scientific research. And she linked the proposal to the current debate over nixing oil subsidies-a hot-button issue at a time of high gas prices.
“This is almost the same exact amount of money we could save by repealing special interest subsidies to the oil industry,” DeLauro said. “With these reckless cuts, the Republican majority show once again that they are more interested in protecting oil company profits than the critical investments and services the American people depend on.”