House Republicans Expected to Fall Billions Short of Their Fiscal 2011 Spending Pledge

April 13, 2011 - 6:16 AM

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.)

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R.-Wis. (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – House Republicans will fall approximately $20 billion short of their commitment to hold non-defense, discretionary spending for fiscal year 2011 to 2008 levels.

According to House Appropriations Committee sources, the fiscal 2011 budget deal reached by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and President Obama last Friday will push non-defense discretionary spending $20 billion higher than the 2008 level House Republicans had promised voters.
 
In their 2010 Pledge to America, House Republicans promised that “with common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops, we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels.”

However, with the enactment of the fiscal 2011 budget deal, that goal will be missed by about $20 billion, the committee source told CNSNews.com. The final 2011 spending levels have not yet been released.
 
The Republican pledge excluded federal entitlements – which make up half of the total federal budget – as well as spending on the Defense Department and veterans programs, leaving a relatively small portion of the federal budget to be restored to 2008 levels.
 
In 2008, this portion of the budget accounted for approximately $522.4 billion. That means that for 2011, non-defense discretionary spending will be approximately $542 billion -- $20 billion higher than the 2008 level.
 
The committee source noted that while Republicans may not have achieved the level of cuts they pledged for fiscal 2011, their fiscal 2012 budget would more than make up for it.
 
That 2012 budget, written by Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), would hold all discretionary spending – including defense – to $1.019 trillion. If that spending level is maintained throughout the budgeting process, it would reduce discretionary spending to 2006 levels, easily keeping Republicans within the range established in their pledge.