The House Appropriations Committee under Republican control has laid out a plan to cut some $74 billion from the federal budget for the current year, and despite President Obama’s insistence that “winning the future” requires big investments in energy, transportation, technology and basic science, those areas would hardly be spared.
Take high-speed rail, where the administration just said it would ask for $8 billion in 2012 funding: the Republican leadership takes a $1 billion whack out of a 2011 plan that calls for almost $2.5 billion in spending. And various energy efficiency and renewable energy programs face a cut of $889 million.
The Department of Energy’s Office of Science – which bills itself as the single biggest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the country – would see a cut of $1 billion from a 2011 request to Congress for $5.1 billion. The Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Authority – a key program for renewable energy developers – would be slashed by $1.4 billion.
While the president and most of his fellow Democrats see many of the targeted programs as investments and job creators, Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said the cuts that will be contained in the next continuing resolution to fund the government are a response “to the millions of Americans who have called on this Congress to rein in spending to help our economy grow and our businesses create jobs.”