Sunday, April 3, 2011

US braces for record federal budget cuts

Congressional Republicans and Democrats have been at loggerheads over the 2011 Fiscal Year federal budget, which is set to expire on April 8.

Source: Press TV

US Democratic Congressmen have proposed to triple cuts in social spending for the remainder of the fiscal year 2011 as the deadline for an agreement looms.

The administration of US President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats are preparing deep cuts to social expenditures, bringing it to an estimated $30 billion from $10 billion, which if agreed would mark the largest-ever federal budget cuts in social spending in a single year, reports said on Sunday.

Congressional Republicans and Democrats have been at loggerheads over the 2011 Fiscal Year federal budget, which is set to expire on April 8 amid consensus on the fact that any further extension, with the fiscal year more than half gone, is unlikely.

In order to avert shutdown, Obama had previously ordered temporary budget extensions of two weeks and three weeks respectively, adopted by Congress in February and March.

On Saturday, Obama called on Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to reach a resolution to the stalemate in Congress.

There has been continuing bickering between the two parties over the starting point for the process of "splitting the difference" between the $61 billion demanded by the Republicans and the budget proposals from the White House.

Boehner and other top House Republicans initially proposed cuts of $32 billion in current spending, but fierce opposition from Tea Party groups, who demanded $61 billion in cuts, ultimately scuttled the initial proposal and the Tea party numbers were passed in February.

US Republicans have demanded steep spending cuts, but Obama has warned that cuts that are too deep could put the country's fragile economic recovery at risk.

House Republicans had previously attempted to cut funding from the new healthcare law, Planned Parenthood and environmental protection laws such as regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, when the budget bill died in the Senate last month.

Obama has insisted on leaving areas like education, innovation and infrastructure off the spending cuts plan.

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