GOP Targets Transportation, Housing For the Deepest Cuts

The House Appropriations Committee yesterday gave a glimpse into their plans to cut spending as promised. Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) set spending ceilings each of the 12 Appropriations subcommittees, cutting the budget for the Transportation and HUD Subcommittee by 17 percent, or $11.6 billion.

Appropriations Committee Chair Hal Rogers wants to make painful cuts to transpo spending for the rest of FY2011. Photo: ##http://online.wsj.com/media/HalRogers_Chairmanship_CV_20101109140702.jpg##WSJ##

It is, by far, the most dramatic of all the cuts. The cuts to Agriculture and Financial Services Committees come in second and third at 14 and 13 percent, respectively.

The cuts come in tandem with House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) announcement that overall spending will have to drop to $1.055 trillion for the rest of 2011.

Still, Republicans are having a harder time than they expected cutting $100 billion from the budget, in accordance with their Pledge to America. In the end, they’ve cut just $32 billion from 2010 levels and have a way to go before hitting their mark of returning to 2008 levels. Meanwhile, they’ve added $9.5 billion for defense and homeland security spending.

All over Washington, people are obsessing over deficit reduction. White House Budget Director Jacob Lew met with Senate Democrats to preview the president’s budget proposal and get their suggestions for deficit reduction. Meanwhile, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is hosting a series of closed-door party meetings on the issue. President Obama has held firm to his promise to hold most domestic spending at 2010 levels, including a wage freeze for federal workers.

New House rules give Rep. Ryan unprecedented powers to set spending ceilings, and his announcement triggered the deep cuts at the Appropriations level. The only subcommittee facing cuts all the way to 2008 levels is Energy and Water Development, according to Politico.

It’ll all come together next week when the full Appropriations Committee releases its own version of a FY2011 budget to finish out the year. Until now, they’ve been coasting along on an extension of last year’s budget, with the same number frozen in place. That extension is due to expire March 4, but Senate leaders are already saying that deadline is impossible and will require stopgap extensions before they can pass a budget.

  • The Republicans simply don’t realize that, in cutting transportation, they’re cutting off their nose to spite their face. They’re generally backed by business…you’d think they’d know that good transportation is a prerequisite for a healthy economy. I guess not…

  • A lot of minorities ride transit. I know it seems crude, and the GOP tells us it doesn’t have a race problem anymore, but they do. Its just submerged below a thin veil of ‘fiscal restraint.’

    -j

  • robert

    I’m fairly conservative and in fact, have voted republican many times.

    They will not cut automobile transportation. Only what they consider to be “waste.” You know, anything transit, bicycling, walking, etc.

    Only they will not call it waste, they will say it’s a State’s responsibility.

    Expanding the comfort, speed and safety of motorists will be judged by them to be a great use of taxpayer dollars.

    I think we’ve all seen this game enough to know the rules by now.

    Particuarly annoying, is that many Democrats seem to agree with them. Example: Claire McCaskill from Missouri

  • Considering at least one Republican wants to eliminate HUD altogether, and looking at the track record under Bush, it may actually be Public Housing that takes the brunt of these cuts.

  • Keith Saggers

    why are they wasting money on bottled water

  • Caleb

    If a congressional jowl tax could be levied, perhaps the budget shortfall could be bridged.

  • Ian Turner

    If this means cuts to road building, it could be a good thing. Fewer bridges to nowhere. I’m fairly sure we’d all be better off if the feds just got out of transportation altogether.

    Disappointing that nobody is willing to address the big budget items: Social Security, Medicare, and Defense. Everything else is really just icing.

    Froggle: Historically, the democrats have led us to roughly 1% more GDP growth. The republicans may be supported by business, but businesses don’t vote and they are still accountable to their base.

  • MAT

    I find it comical that the GOP is increasing Dept of Homeland Security spending when the biggest threat to our security at home is the crumbling infrastructure upon which we rely for every aspect of our lives. We already do not spend enough on transportation to cover preservation and maintenance of the existing system let alone needed investments in new transportation options. Cuts to current spending levels will undoubtedly lead to increased congestion, poor pavement, lessened transit capacity, bridge closures and sadly, a few more I-35W-style collapses. If there can be a silver lining to the impending deaths of innocent Americans due to the GOP’s plans to further defer investment in our failing infrastructure, it is that eventually we’ll learn from our mistakes.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The test of decency, as opposed to ideology, is implied above.

    Fair minded people can differ as to the extent of government taxation and spending, and what functions should be funded and carried out at what level of government.

    But if the GOP wants to cut transit by not roads, and rental housing subsidies but not the mortgage interest deduction, it is more of the same hypocritical dishonesty we have seen for the past 30 years.

    I’m not a Democrat. But my view is at the national level no one under 50 or 55 should ever vote for the GOP ever again. If they want a “conservative” party, they should start a new one. And I’m not sure the “Tea Party” qualifies.

  • MAT: sadly, I have my doubts that we’ll be able to learn from our mistakes. Americans these days have what is perhaps the shortest attention span in history. The politicians know this and are exploiting it.

  • BB Vahn

    You notice how they want to repeal health care for everyone. Yet have no problem scaling back their own gov. health care. (which is the best and most expensive in the country) (they also get it for life)

    Furthermore you don’t see them giving up their funded cars or drivers do you?

  • Economic Stagnation Is the Goal

    “The Republicans simply don’t realize that, in cutting transportation, they’re cutting off their nose to spite their face. They’re generally backed by business…you’d think they’d know that good transportation is a prerequisite for a healthy economy. I guess not…”

    NO, THAT IS PRECISELY THE REPUBLICAN GOAL: the GOP wants the economy to remain stagnant through 2012 so President Obama loses the election.

  • TrueFreedom

    I am definitely one of the deficit hawks; however, I don’t think we should defund transportation… it’s infrastructure. One could make the argument that most of transit is a state issue and funding should happen at the state level.

    As for housing, subsidized housing is doing nothing but killing the middle class. It disrupts natural market forces, allows people to occupy housing they could not afford, leaving less housing for the middle class. I say completely get rid of HUD at the federal level and the redevelopment agencies at the state level.. and put that funding towards transit.

  • Grim Reep Creep

    “I say completely get rid of HUD at the federal level and the redevelopment agencies at the state level.. and put that funding towards transit.”

    Sounds like a troll trying to pit transit advocates against housing.

  • TrueFreedom

    @Grim: no trolling here, and I’m not trying to pit anyone against anyone else. Perhaps you think that all people fall into one of a few neatly defined boxes… boxes where transit and housing advocates are one in the same. Sorry, the world (and people) is more complex than that.

    To go one step further, even though I’m pro-transit, I’m NOT anti-car… how about that!

  • LazyReader

    I too support state scaled initiatives to transportation. I spoke a similar rythme in opposition to High-speed rail. Let the states handle all their transportation needs. I don’t even think we need a “federal” department of Transportation except for handling interstate, international, or maritime commerce. Federal taxes can be eliminated and transfered to the states. Infact several senators have proposed ideas, whats called ”opting out”. That way the federal government can’t tamper with or redistribute state revenues. It doesn’t make sense to have Texas pay for Bostons Big Dig nor money from Massachusetts pay for California Rail. They don’t use one anothers roads or rail. However coalitions can be formed between regions of states for bridges, tunnels or infrastructure across state borders.

  • John Kelly

    America is broke. It has been broke for years.
    The Republicans understand that. Kind of. Homeland security (???) and the Military get increases. Please. Just burn the money, at least it gives heat.
    Iraq and Afghanistan are complete wastes of huge amounts of American money and lives.
    The Democrats are more than willing to spend your great-great-grandchildren’s money to buy plasma TVs from China so long as it keeps them in power.
    Political whores.
    We are broke. We spent what we had and now its gone. We can no longer afford to pay for generations of welfare recipients (16 year old mothers, banks that are “too big to fail,” the Military, social security, medicare).
    It is time to go back to work, to rebuild, to be responsible, to forget foreign entanglements.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

GOP Moves Ahead With Deep Cuts to Transportation, Housing

|
The House Appropriations Committee voted last night to move ahead with deep spending cuts, totaling $32 billion, to the remainder of the FY2011 budget. It’s still not the $100 billion the GOP wanted to cut, and some committee Republicans voted no, saying the cuts were still too small. Tell that to Americorps volunteers, who will […]

Transportation Funding Bill Dies Unceremoniously in Both Chambers

|
A few short hours after the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a $594 billion defense spending bill, Republicans blocked the $54 billion transportation and HUD bill from coming to the floor for a vote. House Republican leadership had blocked its own THUD bill the day before. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Politico that Republicans had […]

GOP Appropriations Bill Would Turn TIGER Into a Roads Program

|
As the president’s transportation proposal fades from the news cycle and we eagerly await the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s six-year reauthorization bill, here comes the House Republicans’ proposed budget for transportation and housing for next year. Note: What the House GOP released yesterday wasn’t an authorization bill but an appropriations bill for 2015. […]