CBO Says Budget Deal Will Cut Spending by Only $352 Million

A Congressional Budget Office analysis of the fiscal 2011 spending deal that Congress will vote on Thursday concludes that it would cut spending this year by less than one-tenth of what both Republicans or Democrats have claimed.

A comparison prepared by the CBO shows that the omnibus spending bill, advertised as containing some $38.5 billion in cuts, will only reduce federal outlays by $352 million below 2010 spending rates. The nonpartisan budget agency also projects that total outlays are actually some $3.3 billion more than in 2010, if emergency spending is included in the total.

The astonishing result, according to CBO, is the result of several factors: increases in spending, especially at the Defense Department; decisions to draw over half of the savings from recissions; and cuts to reserve funds and and money for mandatory-spending programs that might never have been spent.

National Journal previously reported that after removing rescissions, cuts to reserve funds, and reductions in mandatory-spending programs, discretionary spending would be reduced only by $14.7 billion. CBO’s analysis, which takes into account the likelihood that certain authorized funding will never be spent, suggests that the actual cuts will be even smaller.

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