WASHINGTON -- House Republicans announced Thursday that they plan to cut $74 billion from President Barack Obama's budget for fiscal 2011, slashing the domestic discretionary budget by $58 billion and cutting $16 billion from security spending for the rest of the year.
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who announced the figures, did not specify which of the hundreds of government programs would see cuts, but promised they would not be the last in GOP leadership's effort to shrink government spending to 2008 levels.
The Republican proposal would only cut $32 billion from current spending levels for this fiscal year, however -- far lower than the $100 billion promised in the party's "Pledge to America."
Ryan balked at news coverage noting the discrepancy, tweeting, "Associated Press is wrong. House GOP plan would cut $74 billion from the Budget... and we're just getting started."
The proposal would decrease domestic spending by $43 billion from last year's budget. But it also allows for increases, including an $8-billion hike in funding for defense, homeland security and veteran programs over last year's levels.
Ryan said the GOP will continue to make cuts before raising the national debt limit, which Obama requested to prevent the United States from defaulting on its loans. The nation currently has $14 trillion in accumulated debt, and Congress must approve a routine increase on its mandated "debt ceiling" in the spring.
"Endless borrowing is not a strategy," Ryan said in a press release. "House Republicans will continue to build upon this down payment, working to restrain the explosive growth of government and to help restart America's engine of economic growth and job creation."
A bipartisan fiscal commission created by the president cautioned against immediate spending cuts, stating that "budget cuts should start gradually so they don't interfere with the ongoing economic recovery."
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member on the House Budget Committee, said a sharp reduction in spending would undo economic progress that he said has begun under Democratic policies. Senate Democrats estimated that reducing spending to 2008 levels would lead to 1 million lost jobs.
"The Republican spending cuts would undo the progress we are starting to see," Van Hollen said in a press release. "We must tackle the deficit and put our nation on a path to long-term fiscal sustainability. But it is important to be fiscally responsible in a way that doesn't cost us jobs."
Despite proclaiming a hard-line stance on the budget, Republicans have proposed a number of measures that would increase the deficit, adopting budgeting rules allowing them to pass tax cuts that would increase the deficit.
The House GOP voted in January to repeal 2010's sweeping health care law, even though repeal would add $230 billion to the deficit over the next decade, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. The Senate voted down an amendment to repeal the law on Wednesday.
Ryan will allow the Appropriations Committee to determine where to make cuts based on his budget plan before holding a vote on specific cuts later this month. The measure will be attached to a continuing resolution to fund the government until the end of September, the end of the 2011 fiscal year.