U.S. Congress unveils spending bill

10:12, April 13, 2011      

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The U.S. Congress on Tuesday revealed the 2011 spending bill, specifying where lawmakers will cut billions of dollars from the federal budget.

In total, the bill sets final 2011 spending levels at 1.049 trillion dollars. This is a 78.5 billion decrease from President Obama's 2011 budget request and a 39.9 billion decrease from the 1. 089 trillion 2010 spending level.

In separate press releases, House Republicans emphasized the cuts they won in the six-month spending bill after negotiations that saved the government from a shutdown last Friday, while Senate Democrats emphasized cuts they were able to avoid or diminish.

Compared to 2010 levels, the total cuts span nearly the entire federal government. They include 12 billion in cuts through three stopgap continuing resolutions and 28 billion in new cuts.

The largest cut in the bill is from the Commerce Department, but this is something of an accounting trick since it relates to unspent Census money totaling 6.2 billion.

The Homeland Security Department sees significant cuts as well. 226 million is cut from the southern border fence at the suggestion of the Obama administration, and the number of Transportation Security Administration workers is capped. Federal Emergency Management Agency's first-responder grants are cut by 786 million.

There are big cuts to Democratic-backed programs. The Women, Infants and Children nutrition program is cut 504 million, foreign food assistance by 194 million and assistance to state and local law enforcement by 415 million.

The Environmental Protection Agency is cut by 1.6 billion, a 16 percent reduction, and lawmakers from Western states were able to include a rider allowing states to de-list wolves from the endangered species list.

Health funding also takes a hit. Community healthcare centers lose 600 million while HIV and other disease-prevention funds are cut by 1 billion. But Democrats noted that the health centers would not have to close altogether under a cut of this size.

The Clinton-era COPS program is cut by 296 million. Low-income heating assistance is cut 390 million, while Community Development Funds are cut 942 million.

Contributions to the UN and other international institutions are cut 377 million; federal highway investment is cut 650 million.

Source: Xinhua
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