The Appropriations committee came out yesterday with a proposal of $ 100 billion in cuts from the non-defense discretionary budget–which is itself just a fraction of total spending. There are deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, and to some of the key scientific priorities of the federal stimulus. Take the Energy Department:
The Committee also sought to reduce excess and unnecessary spending by cutting Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and Science accounts – both of which received huge funding levels in the stimulus bill. To date, EERE has more than $10 billion and Science has more than $800 million in unspent stimulus funding.
I guess the logic here is that Republicans didn’t like the stimulus, and so the unspent parts of it should be pulled back. I don’t see though how that helps the economy or our competitiveness.
In fact, there’s more that can be said about this. These renewable energy cuts are occurring while federal subsidies to fossil fuel producers–billions of dollars per year–are being preserved. In effect, then, the plan is to privilege one energy source over another.
Meanwhile, EPA gets savaged, and climate change programs defunded:
Specifically, the CR cuts the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by $3 billion, which is 29% below fiscal year 2010. The cuts to the EPA alone represent 69% of the bill’s reduction compared to last year’s level. In addition, the bill cuts climate change funding bill-wide by $107 million, or 29%, from the fiscal year 2010 enacted level.
And so that brief bipartisan-sounding moment following the State of the Union is already officially passed, and we’re headed towards a budget showdown.