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A new budget estimate released Wednesday says that the spending bill negotiated between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner would produce less than 1 percent of the $38 billion in claimed savings by the end of this budget year.
The Congressional Budget Office estimate shows that the spending bill due for a House vote Thursday would pare just $352 million from the deficit through Sept. 30. About $8 billion in cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid are offset by nearly equal increases in defense spending.
The House began debate on the measure Wednesday with a test vote slated for the early afternoon. The measure appears on track to pass the House and Senate this week before a stopgap spending measure expires Friday at midnight despite opposition from some of the GOP’s most ardent budget cutters.
The budget deficit is projected at $1.6 trillion this year.
The CBO study confirms that the measure trims $38 billion in new spending authority, but says many of the cuts come in slow-spending accounts like water-and-sewer grants that don’t have an immediate deficit impact.
Republicans say they wish the measure would cut more but that the cuts negotiated by Boehner are about as good as can be expected giver that Democrats hold the Senate and the White House. In his February budget, Obama pressed a freeze on domestic agency accounts.
“We continue to push this president to places he never said he would go,” said House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy of California. “The president said he would freeze spending. Our Speaker negotiated, outnumbered 3-1. We have cut spending.”
The deficit is the difference between what the government spends in a given year and what it takes in. In the budget year that ends Sept. 30, the deficit is expected to be a record $1.5 trillion. At that level, for every $1 the government spends, it must borrow about 42 cents.