Ryan Plan Brings Spending to 2008 Levels

Posted February 3, 2011 at 11:41am

Updated: 4:41 p.m.

House Republicans announced Thursday a plan to set spending at 2008 levels for the remainder of the year.

Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (Wis.) budget allocation represents about $43 billion in cuts to non-security spending compared with 2010 spending levels and is $74 billion below President Barack Obama’s total fiscal 2011 budget request. It would apply to spending between March 4 and the end of the fiscal year.

Although the number is not as low as many conservatives and freshman lawmakers had hoped — for instance the Republican Study Committee had wanted spending to be set at 2006 levels — it will allow Republicans to technically make good on the campaign pledge to reduce spending to 2008 levels.

How Republicans will get to those levels — and whether conservatives can force deeper cuts — remains to be seen. The Appropriations Committee will use Ryan’s number to write its continuing resolution, which will come to the floor in two weeks. Appropriators could use a mix of cuts to spending and rescissions of some unused funds to meet the number.

In addition, GOP leaders have promised to allow scores of amendments to the CR during floor debate, and a number of GOP aides have predicted further cuts to the budget are likely to be adopted.