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Inside The Budget Deal: Vulnerable Populations Targeted, But Family Planning Saved


First Posted: 04/12/11 02:06 PM ET Updated: 06/12/11 06:12 AM ET

WASHINGTON –- Congressional leaders unveiled their final budget deal early Tuesday, a $1.049 trillion spending plan that axes billions of dollars for some of the most vulnerable populations while preserving a handful of priorities for both parties.

The budget, which will keep the government funded through the end of September, includes an across-the-board cut of 0.25 percent to every domestic agency.

Key highlights include:

  • $600 million in cuts to community health centers.
  • $414 million in cuts to grants for state and local police departments.
  • A whopping $1.6 billion cut in the Environmental Protection Agency's budget, of which nearly $1 billion comes from grants for clean water and other projects by local governments and Indian tribes.
  • Cuts to homeland security programs for the first time ever, though much of the agency's two percent decrease stems from a $786 million cut in first responder grants to state and local governments.
  • A $7 million cut to the Bureau of Public Debt, which accounts for and provides reports on the debt.
  • A $1 billion cut to HIV and disease-prevention funds.
  • A $3 billion cut to agriculture programs, the biggest portion of which comes from the Women Infants and Children fund, which loses $504 million.
  • A $390 million cut to low-income heating assistance; Community Development Funds are cut by $942 million.
  • Contributions to the United Nations and other international institutions are cut by $377 million.
  • $45 million pulled from nuclear nonproliferation funds.
  • A $650 million cut to federal highway investments.
  • A rider tucked in by lawmakers from Western states that allows states to remove wolves from the endangered species list.

Democrats were able to preserve some of their education priorities, including keeping Pell Grant awards at $5,550 and giving a slight boost to funds for Head Start. They also prevented Republicans from slashing funds for the National Institutes of Health: The agency will absorb a $260 million cut, rather than the $1.6 billion cut sought by House Republicans.

Democrats also rescued family planning programs from elimination; instead, they will face a five percent cut. But the budget does restore the D.C. abortion ban, which prohibits the city from using federal or local funds for abortions, for five months.

Republicans can claim victory in defunding two programs under health care reform: the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan and Free Choice Voucher programs. They also succeeded in eliminating several of the Obama administration’s “czars” for healthcare, climate change, autos and urban affairs.

Read the details here.

Quick Poll

What do you think about the final spending plan?

The cuts were made fairly; lawmakers did what they had to do.

Some programs should have been spared, others were targeted appropriately.

I disagree with most, or all, of the decisions made.

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