(Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Final scorekeeping adjustments by the White House will cut $1 billion from the 2013 continuing resolution to fund the government for the next six months, according to documents released days before President Obama releases his budget.
Domestic agencies will be hit with a .2 percent across-the-board cut, say documents released late Thursday, according to Politico. This is mostly due to a conflict between the administration and Congressional Budget Office over what's the best economic forecast for the housing market and future FHA (Federal Housing Administration) receipts, and also because of the Senate's famous CR concession to the powerful meat lobby.
The changes are meant to effectively lower the base from which the March 1 sequestration cuts will be measured by about $1.095 billion.
The Pentagon will start $164 million lower with the budget cuts, and labor, health, and education programs lose about $325 million from what was provided in the CR. Transportation and housing accounts will drop by $232 million.
Meanwhile, Obama will offer cuts to Social Security and other benefit programs in his budget proposal, to be released on Wednesday, aimed at convincing enough congressional Republicans to pass a broad deal to reduce the deficit, according to Reuters.
The White House wants to use this year's proposal to move beyond the fierce fiscal fights. However, a "grand bargain" appears to be a distant dream. House Speaker John Boehner is determined not to allow any further revenue increases.
"When the president visited the Capitol last month, House Republicans stated a desire to find common ground and urged him not to make savings we agree upon conditional on another round of tax increases. If reports are accurate, the president has not heeded that call," Boehner said in a statement.
Besides, the president has disappointed some Democrats over his proposal of a less generous measure of inflation to calculate cost-of-living increases that would affect Social Security and other government programs when he reveals his budget.
"I am terribly disappointed and will do everything in my power to block President Obama's proposal to cut benefits for Social Security recipients," Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who votes with the Democrats, was quoted as saying.
Obama will likely accept the cuts to entitlements like Social Security and Medicare provided congressional Republicans are willing to raise taxes.
White House spokesman Jay Carney was quoted as saying, "The budget reflects his priorities within a budget world that is not ideal."