Last night, President Obama announced that the federal government will remain open for business because Americans from different beliefs came together, put politics aside, and met the expectations of the American people. Today, small businesses will no longer worry or have to wait on a loan to open or expand their business, families will receive the mortgages they applied for, and hundreds of thousands of government workers, including our brave men and women in uniform, will continue to receive paychecks on time.
This deal cuts spending by $78.5 billion from the President’s FY 2011 Budget request -- the largest annual spending cut in our history. These are real cuts that will save taxpayers money and have a real impact. Many will be painful, and are to programs that we support, but the fiscal situation is such that we have to act.
The two sides agreed to cut $13 billion from funding for programs at the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services as well as over $1 billion in a cut across non-defense agencies, forcing everyone to tighten their belt. There will be reductions to housing assistance programs and some health care programs along with $8 billion in cuts to our budget for State and Foreign Operations. These significant cuts to the State Department and foreign assistance will mean we will not meet some of the ambitious goals set for the nation in the President’s Budget.
Our team also went after wasteful spending and earmarked, special interest programs including $630 million in earmarked transportation projects and at least $2.5 billion in transportation funding that is ready to be earmarked. We were able to cut $35 million by ending the Crop Insurance Good Performance Rebate, which gives successful farmers, who have no claims, a rebate for insurance premiums already subsidized by the federal government. In addition to these cuts, we were able to eliminate $30 million for a job training program that was narrowly targeted at certain student loan processors. We also looked to the Defense department for savings, and were able to identify $18 billion in cuts deemed unnecessary by the Pentagon. These types of cuts are what the American people expect out of their leaders in Washington.
Just as families across the nation do everyday, we had to make tough choices and begin to live within our means, but we also had clear lines that protected the investments we need to win the future.
We protected funding for critical programs that invest in science programs, our kids’ education, and critical health programs. We are maintaining current levels of Head Start enrollment, funding Race to the Top, including an early learning element, and have sufficient savings available to maintain the Pell Grant maximum award and the broad education reform agenda, including K-12 education. There is still robust investment to efficiently and effectively run Medicare and to implement the Affordable Care Act. Even though we will no longer double the funding of key research and development agencies, you will still see strong investments in National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation and the Office of Science.
By insisting on these cuts, we were able to achieve savings and avoid most of the harmful proposals. We avoided deep cuts in international programs that, among other things, threaten our transition out of Iraq. We were able to avoid making than $500 million cut in lifesaving biomedical research at National Institutes of Health. We avoided terminating 60,000 children from the Head Start Program in September and fund student load to provide adequate services to student loan borrowers. We are able to implement financial reforms signed into law to prevent another financial crisis.
We also made sure this was a debate about spending cuts, not social issues or pursuing an ideological agenda that has nothing to do with our budget. We all understand that these are important issues that deserve discussion, just not during a debate about our budget and at a time when the American people expect more out of their government.
We were able to stop Republican efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act as well as Planned Parenthood and international family planning programs. They also wanted to limit funding for the establishment of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and block the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing clean air and water rules. While we made significant cuts, we just couldn’t afford to cut these important programs that are critical to our nation.
Last night was a perfect example of Democrats and Republicans coming together, working tirelessly to hammer out a deal and making the tough choices to live within our means. We all know that we face tough challenges ahead, from job creating and growing our economy, to educating our children and reducing our deficit, and we must continue to work together to achieve those goals and deliver for the American people.