WASHINGTON (AP) — A new budget estimate released Wednesday shows that the spending bill negotiated between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner would produce less than 1 percent of the $38 billion in promised savings by the end of this budget year.
The Congressional Budget Office estimate shows that compared with current spending rates the spending bill due for a House vote Thursday would cut federal outlays from non-war accounts by just $352 million through Sept. 30. About $8 billion in immediate cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid are offset by nearly equal increases in defense spending.
When war funding is factored in the legislation would actually increase total federal outlays by $3.3 billion relative to current levels.
To a fair degree, the lack of immediate budget-cutting punch is because the budget year is more than half over and that cuts in new spending authority typically are slow to register on deficit tallies. And Republicans promise that when fully implemented and repeated year after year, the cuts in the measure would reduce the deficit by $315 billion over the coming decade.
Still, the analysis is an early lesson about Washington budgeting for junior lawmakers elected last year on promises to swiftly attack the deficit.
The House began preliminary debate on the measure Wednesday with it easily advancing over a procedural hurdle by a 241-179 vote. The measure appears on track to pass the House and Senate this week before a stopgap spending measure expires Friday at midnight despite opposition from some of the GOP’s most ardent budget cutters.
The budget deficit is projected at $1.6 trillion this year.