House Republican leaders on Thursday said they would seek $32 billion in spending cuts from the resolution funding the government.
Republicans framed their proposal as cutting $74 billion from President Obama’s 2011 budget request. Since Obama’s budget was never approved by the last Congress, however, the cuts would be made against a continuing resolution now funding the government.
That resolution is to expire on March 4, and if lawmakers do not agree on another short-term measure or one funding the government for the rest of the year, the government could shut down.
The decision sets up a two-front battle with Democrats and President Obama, who have warned that immediate spending cuts could damage the economy, and with conservative Tea Party-backed Republicans who want to make deeper cuts to spending.
The Congressional Budget Office has projected a $1.5 trillion deficit for the year.
The proposed ceiling is less than the GOP pledge during the fall campaign to cut $100 billion in “non-security” discretionary funding.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) and other Republican leaders had already said their proposed cut would be less than that pledge. Aides said Thursday that the number is smaller since nearly half of the fiscal year is already over and the government is committing money at a faster rate in anticipation of coming cuts. They also argued their proposed cuts would reduce spending to 2008 levels for the final seven months of the fiscal year.