Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog Capitol Hill

White House to Agencies: Prepare for Broad Spending Freeze or 5% Cut

11:34 AM EST on November 12, 2009

Congressional deficit anxiety, always running high amid conservative Democrats, is reaching something of a fever pitch this week -- while the White House prepares to ask most federal agencies for two alternative budgets for the fiscal year that begins next fall: one that freezes spending and one with a 5 percent cut.

dot14_point.jpgU.S. DOT headquarters (Photo: Capitol Riverfront)

The Wall Street Journal has the details, as part of a larger report on the Obama administration's internal debate over whether to set aside unspent financial bailout money for deficit reduction:

The White House is in the early stages of considering what biggermoves it might make for next year's budget. The Office of Managementand Budget has asked all cabinet agencies, except defense and veteransaffairs, to prepare two budget proposals for fiscal 2011, which beginsOct 1, 2010. One would freeze spending at current levels. The otherwould cut spending by 5%.

OMB is also reviewing a host of tax changes. The President'sEconomic Recovery Advisory Board will submit tax-policy options by Dec.5, including simplifying the tax code and revamping the corporate taxcode.

Matt Yglesias tackles the political motivations behind the administration's efforts to project fiscal hawkishness while weighing new initiatives to combat rising joblessness ("without increasing the deficit"). But the signals of coming budget austerity at non-military federal agencies is another huge story in itself, and one that's bound to have significant implications for transportation policy.

The U.S. DOT made a budget request of $73.2 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2010, which began in October, compared with $68.2 billion during the final year of the Bush administration (FY 2009) and $70.3 billion in FY 2008. According to that data, a 5 percent cut would leave the agency's request above its FY 2009 level.

Once budget requests are forwarded to Capitol Hill, lawmakers get the final word on setting agency spending levels. But the administration's move -- which comes as more states face budget crises and find themselves at risk of losing federal matching funds for transportation -- suggests that a spending freeze may indeed be the best case scenario.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Monday’s Headlines Like Stadiums Without Parking

The lack of parking at Kansas City's new soccer stadium is a feature, not a bug. Plus other news.

February 26, 2024

Should Communities That Suppress Housing Lose Their Road Funding?

A Colorado bill would require sprawling cities to take action to increase their affordable housing supply before they collect money to build more roads — and some want to take it national.

February 26, 2024

Why ‘Safe Systems’ Are Not Enough to End Road Violence

Two years into the National Roadway Safety Strategy, why hasn't America made more progress towards Vision Zero?

February 26, 2024

Friday’s Headlines Are So Fresh and So Clean

The only thing Americans love more than a car is a clean car.

February 23, 2024

CalBike: Tell the Legislature Hands Off Active Transportation Funding

Calbike has an action alert that allows its members to write directly to legislators with their feelings on whether or not the ATP funding should be restored before the legislature votes on the budget in June.

February 22, 2024
See all posts