“With common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops, we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone and putting us on a path to balance the budget and pay down the debt.”
So reads the House Republicans’ “Pledge to America” — a supposedly deficit-reducing plan that calls for trillions of dollars’ worth of specific tax cuts, but only $100 billion of non-specific spending cuts to offset that cost.
Still, $100 billion pays for a lot of things. Bloomberg took a close look at just what would take a hit under the Republican plan — adding specificity where the Republicans offered none. Here are the top five issues that would suffer under the Pledge to America.
President Obama has requested over $70 billion for the Department of Education next year. A cut along the lines of what the Republicans propose would necessitate a $5 billion cut to the Pell Grant program, which assists low-income students with college tuition costs.
2. Health Care
This is where Republicans really want to do damage — to Obama’s health care reform law. But their discretionary spending cut alone would mean billions in fewer resources for the Department of Health and Human Services. Perhaps most troubling, the National Institutes of Health would take a $6 billion hit. The Centers for Disease Control would also take hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts. And the National Cancer Institute, where spending has risen by 10 percent in the past two years would see their funding cut.
3. Social Services
Congress would also have to cut money for Justice Assistance Grants — a.k.a. state and local law enforcement. Without cuts, that’s $2 billion. Republicans would take $400 million from local police forces alone.
Everyone knows America’s infrastructure is crumbling. Part of the initial response by the Administration was an increase in funding for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. Returning to 2006 levels would mean over $13 billion in lost revenue for projects under the purview of that department.
5. Revenue Collection
It’s probably wrong to think that the public wouldn’t support cutting funds for tax collectors. But if the government is going lean, it will probably have to lay off people who collect tax dollars, and conduct audits. That sounds great to your average frustrated tax payer. But Republicans talking about closing budget shortfalls will be working against themselves. In fact, without their help, the Treasury could lose just about as much money as it saves in non-defense, non-veteran non-senior, discretionary spending.
Ed note: This piece originally claimed, inaccurately, that the National Cancer Institute would stand to face $13 billion in cuts. The article has been changed to provid accurate figures.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.