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Thread: Federal Aid To Schools And Health Research Face Cuts In Bush Budget

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Federal Aid To Schools And Health Research Face Cuts In Bush Budget

    Domestic Agencies Face Cuts in Bush Budget

    By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 1 minute ago

    WASHINGTON - Domestic priorities like federal aid to schools and health research are squeezed under President Bush's proposed budget for next year, but funding for the Pentagon, the war in Iraq and anti-terrorism efforts get impressive increases.

    Monday's budget tome will have a price tag of more than $2.7 trillion. The departments of Education, Commerce, Interior and Energy — will see their budgets, on average, frozen or cut slightly below today's already austere levels.

    The outline of the budget has emerged from a series of interviews with people familiar with various aspects of the proposal.

    Judging from his recent record, Bush should largely get his way in clamping down on the budgets for domestic agencies that are passed each year by Congress. Last year, despite resistance from Democrats and old-school lawmakers in his own party, Bush got Congress to accept a freeze or a slight cut in almost every domestic agency budget.

    "Every year of my presidency, we've reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending, and last year you passed bills that cut this spending," Bush said last week. "This year my budget will cut it again."

    Even though domestic non-entitlement programs take only one-sixth of all federal spending, they are in the administration's bulls eye as it tries to reel in the growing deficit.

    The National Institutes of Health's budget is frozen at this year's level and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is being asked to take a 2 percent cut. Both programs lose ground as Bush puts a higher priority on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and hurricane relief.

    The Pentagon would receive a nearly 5 percent increase in its budget, to $439.3 billion, defense officials said, with an additional $120 billion earmarked for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those war funds would be spread over both the current budget year and fiscal 2007, which begins Oct. 1.

    The budget also will project spending $18 billion more this year for hurricane relief along the Gulf Coast, bringing total spending in response to September's devastating storms over the $100 billion mark.

    In his Saturday radio address, Bush pitched his "American competitiveness initiative," which would double funding for basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years and improve training and recruitment of math and science teachers.

    Bush also warned Congress last week he wants to eliminate or cut more than 140 programs to save $14 billion in 2007 alone. Last year, he succeeded in saving $6.5 with a similar request, winning from Congress about two-fifths of the spending cuts he sought.

    Some of the new proposed cuts, such as eliminating the $107 million Commodity Supplemental Food Program, are likely to get a chilly reaction on Capitol Hill. The program provides food to low-income mothers and children under 6 years old, as well as to the elderly poor.

    There's nearly universal agreement that policymakers eventually will have to tackle tackling runaway Medicare costs and Bush takes a politically perilous first step in that direction in his budget.

    "We have to address these issues," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H., who, like Bush is a member of the Baby Boom generation, whose claims on Social Security and Medicare threaten to swamp the budget in coming decades.

    "It's not fair for our generation, when we have control over policy, not to look for a way to pass a more fiscally healthy nation on to our children," Gregg said.

    While modest, Bush's endorsement of wringing tens of billions of dollars in savings from health care providers such as hospitals and nursing homes, may prove to be a difficult sell to his GOP allies on Capitol Hill. Hospitals are a powerful lobbying group and are typically some of the leading employers in lawmakers' districts and states.

    "Think of lobbyists as a giant immunological system. And this (Medicare proposal) is a virus," said Alexander Vachon, a health care analyst. "It is going to set off all these white blood cells to go eating on Congress."

    Still, by assuming the Medicare savings in the budget Bush can claim he is meeting his promise to cut the deficit in half — from an inflated $521 billion estimate for early 2004 — to $260 billion by the end of his presidency.

    The budget meets that target by assuming Congress will agree to Bush's policy priorities and related spending cuts and new fees, even though many are unrealistic, particularly in an election year for lawmakers, or have been rejected repeatedly.

    For example, better off veterans are again being asked make higher co-payments for prescription drugs and pay a new $250 annual enrollment fee for their medical care. Congress has rejected both three years in a row. A new proposal to raise fees on military retirees enrolled in the Pentagon's Tricare program isn't likely to fare much better.

    A new Department of Homeland Security fee on air travel of $5 each way is likely to get stamped "Dead on Arrival" just as a comparable fee was last year.

    The tax-based health initiatives Bush wants — boosting health savings accounts and making out-of-pocket medical costs deductible — face resistance because they reduce the revenue side of the budget and exacerbate deficits.

    Despite Bush's call to curb the weed-like growth of benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid, veterans in Congress aren't expecting much progress on the deficit.

    "It'll largely be a do-nothing year, unfortunately," said top Senate Budget Committee Democrat Kent Conrad of North Dakota. "We all know the history, which is that very little in terms of bold action gets done in an election year."
    Last edited by Gold9472; 02-04-2006 at 07:10 PM. Reason: Domestic Agencies Face Cuts In Bush Budget
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Bush to Request $439.3B Defense Budget

    By LOLITA C. BALDOR , 02.02.2006, 07:56 PM

    President Bush next week will request a $439.3 billion Defense Department budget for 2007, a nearly 5 percent increase over this year, according to senior Pentagon officials and documents obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

    The spending plan would include $84.2 billion for weapons programs, a nearly 8 percent increase, including billions of dollars for fighter jets, Navy ships, helicopters and unmanned aircraft. The total includes a substantial increase in weapons spending for the Army, which will get $16.8 billion in the 2007 budget, compared with $11 billion this year.

    Senior defense officials provided the totals on condition of anonymity because the defense budget will not be publicly released until Monday. The figures did not include about $50 billion that Bush administration officials said Thursday they would request as a down payment for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007. The administration said war costs for 2006 would total $120 billion.

    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld would not provide any details of the budget Thursday but called it appropriate, adding: "We have been able to fund the important things that are needed. It is a sizable amount of money."

    The budget proposal represents the fifth year in a row that spending on weapons has increased, after years of cutbacks during the 1990s.

    It also provides funding for 42 Army Brigade Combat Teams as part of the ongoing effort to increase the number of combat units from 33. The expansion would allow soldiers to spend two years at their home station for every year they are deployed to a war front.

    Overall, the Army would receive $111.8 billion, including $42.6 billion for personnel. The Army National Guard would receive about $5.25 billion for personnel, and the Army Reserves would receive $3.4 billion.

    The documents say the budget plan will provide the funding needed to win the long war on terror, recruit and retain troops, and continue the transformation to a more agile fighting force for the 21st century.

    The Army's key weapons program, the Future Combat System, will be funded at $2.2 billion, and there will be $583 million to buy nearly 3,100 more heavily armored Humvees. The budget also includes nearly $800 million for 100 Stryker transport vehicles.

    During a speech Thursday, Rumsfeld said the Pentagon is learning to do more with less.

    "We are finding ways to operate that department in ways that are considerably more efficient and more respectful of taxpayers' dollars," he said. "We are getting much more for the dollar today than we were five years ago."

    In other budget programs, the Air Force will receive about $2.2 billion for the F-22 fighter - slashing the 2006 total nearly in half. The drop in funding, however, is actually a contract restructuring that would return that money - and more - over the long run by stretching out the program for an additional two years and buying four more planes. The new plan calls for buying 20 aircraft each year in 2008, 2009 and 2010, rather than 56 in the next two years.

    The Navy will receive about $2.5 billion for the next Virginia Class submarine, and there is $360 million in the budget for development of the new CH53K heavy lift helicopter for the Marine Corps.

    Other programs in the budget include:

    _$5.6 billion to support a wide variety of programs to address the multiple needs of military families, including child care, family counseling, tuition assistance and family centers.

    _About $1.8 billion for 81 Army Black Hawk and Navy Hawk helicopters.

    _$1.3 billion for five of the new Joint Strike Fighters.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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    PhilosophyGenius Guest

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