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White House Identifies $17B in Savings

White House budget officials have identified some 121 programs they want to reduce or terminate for a total of $17 billion in savings for 2010, according to senior administration officials. The program cutbacks will be included in the administration’s fiscal 2010 budget blueprint, which will be unveiled on Thursday. Further savings will be achieved in later years, the officials said.Of the total 2010 savings, about half is from defense and half from non-defense programs. Some $11.5 billion is from discretionary accounts, the rest from mandatory spending. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has initiated a parallel effort, asking committee chairmen to come up with a list of reductions by June 2. But it is unclear whether Congress will go along with the administration’s proposed cuts, though the senior officials said they have found at least a few programs that can be easily characterized to the public as wasteful.One is an Education Department position in Paris. The official suggested videoconferencing is more in order. Also in the cross hairs is a program that “pays states to clean up mines that have already been cleaned up,— one of the senior officials said.He added that the White House would continue to seek savings this year as part of the budget process.

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