Freeze Leaves Some Cold, Some Toasty

Today, CRFB released our Analysis of the President's FY 2011 Budget. We will be following-up here at The Bottom Line with shorter analyses discussing specific aspects of the budget. This is the first:

President Obama's proposed freeze on non-security discretionary spending is leaving some agencies and programs feeling colder than others. In fact, some aren't chilly at all.

In presenting the FY 2011 budget Monday, the Obama Administration emphasized that they weren't proposing to freeze individual program funding levels, but instead, would request increases for some programs and cuts for others. For instance, education programs emerged as a big winner. Obama proposed a $3 billion increase for elementary and secondary education programs, to $28 billion. The programs would receive an additional $1 billion if Congress reauthorizes those programs this year. 

Transportation programs also emerged as a priority, with the Administration calling for a new $4 billion National Infrastructure Innovation and Finance Fund, which would provide merit-based grants for transportation programs. Congress failed to pass a long-term reauthorization for surface transportation programs last year. The Administration also requested a $1 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, to $32 billion.

The budget also contains cuts. However, the cuts were spread among several departments. The exception to this is the $4 billion (36%) cut to the Commerce Department; however, this is entirely the result of a $6 billion reduction in funding for the 2010 census -- which will have been already completed by 2011. The Justice Department is also slated to receive a $3.4 billion (12.4%) funding cut in 2011, as a result of the cancellation of the Crime Victims' Fund.

An example of an agency receiving a small cut is the EPA, which would see a $118 million cut -- to $10 billion -- if the Obama budget were implemented. Obama also takes aim at programs that Congress traditionally uses for earmarked projects. The Administration would cut $565 million from the Army Corps of Engineers, making its FY 2011 request $4.9 billion. The budget also includes a $129 million cut in funding for water and wastewater projects, a traditional pot that is often tapped by Congress for earmarks. Of course, Congress may be reluctant to cut funding for programs that members use for earmarks. In fact, many of the budget's cuts were proposed by the Administration last year and rejected by Congress.

Defense programs are outside the freeze and Obama proposes a $18.2 billion increase for Pentagon programs,. The funding boost, which would increase the Defense budget to $548.9 billion, does not include a $33 billion request from the Administration for FY 2010 to pay for the war. The Department of Homeland Security, also outside the freeze, would receive $43.6 billion, a $5.2 billion increase.

Agency2010 Enacted2011 RequestedPercent Change
Homeland Security$39.4$43.6+10.7%
Veteran Affairs$53.1$57.1+7.5%
State and Other International Programs$50.6$58.5+15.6%
Nuclear Security Administration$9.9$11.2+13.1%
Security Sub-Total$683.7$719.2+5.2%
Health and Human Services$84.1$83.5-0.7%
Housing and Urban Development$43.6$41.6-4.6%
Environmental Protection Agency$10.3$10-2.9%
Other Agencies$43.7$45.8+7.6%
Non-security Sub-Total$446.2
Regular Discretionary Sub-Total $1,130.0$1,160.5+2.7%
Funding for Iraq and Afghanistan*$171.5$159.3-7.1%
Total (including war funding)$1,301.5$1,319.8+1.4%

* Includes over $41 billion of requested supplemental funding.

Click here to read our full anaylsis of the President's Budget, and be sure to check back to The Bottom Line over the next week for more analysis of the President's Budget.