Dems already fighting Obama's budget cuts

Members of Congress, who want money to continue flowing to their districts, aren't happy about the president's $17 billion in cuts.

Published May 8, 2009 3:50PM (EDT)

The $17 billion in planned budget cuts that President Obama announced on Thursday isn't, in the scheme of things, all that much money -- it's only about one-half of one percent of the proposed budget. But congressional Democrats are already pushing back, hard, against the proposals, and they seem likely to succeed, at least in part.

As Salon's own Mike Madden observes in an article elsewhere on the site today:

Just about every program in the federal budget has some kind of constituency out there, and some lawmaker is virtually guaranteed to fight to keep every cent of the $17 billion Obama wants to cut. Like the less-detailed budget blueprint Obama put out in February, none of what the administration released Thursday will become law on its own. Congress sets the actual funding levels for all the discretionary spending the budget covers; Obama can veto, or threaten to veto, their appropriations bills, but all the paper the White House shoveled out about the budget amounts to nothing more than a declaration of his negotiating position on the matter.

The Washington Post reports that the fight has already begun. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., for instance, wants the money from one of the biggest cuts -- $400 million that helps states with the cost of detaining illegal immigrants -- restored. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., is opposing one of the most high-profile of the cuts, the decision not to take delivery on a new presidential helicopter, which the president has rejected and which cost over $800 million last year. Of course, it also provides hundreds of jobs in Hinchey's district.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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