(CNSNews.com) - President Bush sent his proposed $1.96 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2002, which begins on Oct.1, to Capitol Hill Monday. The president said his proposed budget would fund "needs without the fat." He is also sticking to his proposed 10-year tax cut, even though the Senate slashed it last week from $1.6 to $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
"Washington is known for pork," the president told reporters at the White House. "This budget funds our needs without the fat. It also represents a new way of doing business in Washington, and a new way of thinking. The budget puts the taxpayers first, and that's exactly where they belong."
The proposed budget would trim many government programs such as the Clinton program to hire 100, 000 new police officers. It also proposed to change some health programs for the poor and uninsured.
"It's a budget that protects taxpayers, protects children, protects our surplus. It represents compassionate conservatism. It's a budget that sets priorities. It's a budget that recognizes there are some good programs here in Washington that need to be funded," the Bush told reporters at the White House.
The budget, according to the president, "provides a $21 million increase for food safety programs, $1 billion increase for Pell Grants for low-income students, $350 million increase for child care. We help children whose parents are in prison with a $67 million mentoring program. We increase funding available to prevent child abuse by 66 percent."
Bush added, "We fight crime with an $87 million increase for front line prosecutors. We give $75 million for project 'Child Safe,' which is a program that provides gun safety locks for families. It fights corporate subsidies. It eliminates thousands of one-time earmarked projects."
The president is also proposing to cut $35 million from a $235 million program to help train doctors at children's hospitals. The National Association of Children's Hospitals is not happy with the Bush proposal, according to NACH President Lawrence McAndrews.
"The Bush administration's budget proposal to cut established funding for the children's hospitals' graduate medical education program represents a step backwards for children's health care. Established two years ago and currently funded at $235 million, CHGME helps ensure that our children continue to benefit from the pediatricians, pediatric specialists and researchers trained at children's hospitals to care for them today and tomorrow. It also helps to ensure that a wide range of pediatric services is accessible to any child who needs them," McAndrews said in a statement.
The budget also proposes cutting more than $200 million from federal renewable energy and research programs. In particular, the Energy Department's core solar and renewable energy programs would be cut in half from current spending levels of $376 million.
The president's budget does propose spending $150 million to develop less-polluting coal for fueling electric-generating plants and revives spending for nuclear power.
The Alliance to Save Energy doesn't agree with the Bush proposals, saying cuts in clean energy could not come at a worse time, according to its President David Nemtzow.
"The Administration's proposal to cut energy efficiency R&D and related spending by more than 20 percent - even as they declare an 'energy crisis' - could not come at a worst time for American consumers and businesses. Faced with sky-high heating bills, increased gasoline prices, and new prospects for electricity shortages, the nation needs to invest more heavily in energy efficiency, which remains the cheapest, quickest and cleanest way to lessen energy problems and extend energy supplies," Nemtzow said in a statement.
However, House Republican Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) said the budget is "fair and responsible." He believes that it shows America "can make important investments in education, defense and health care" while at the same time providing tax relief.
Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.), ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee said, "the devil is in the details." He thinks the proposal makes too many cuts in important programs in order to make way for the president's tax cut.
"Medicaid, medical education, environmental programs in the Department of Interior, environmental programs in EPA, training and employment programs, child care and development block grants. We found cuts in all of these programs in order to make way for the president's tax cut. The administration apparently thought when you have a surplus of $5.6 trillion dollars, then everything seems possible and painless," Spratt said at a Capitol Hill press conference.
However, many members of the House Republican Study Committee believe the president's budget proposal is "too generous."
"President Bush has proposed a budget which more than provides for America's priorities. Yet, the Democrats still want more. Apparently, they have become addicted to the dramatic spending increases President Clinton extorted from Congress over the past three years. Now that we have a president to work with us, the Republican Congress needs to restore some fiscal discipline to our nation's budget. The Republican Study Committee will do everything possible to ensure that we live within the president's Budget," stated Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee.
"In the last four years, the discretionary budget has grown by nearly 25 percent. President Bush is proposing to wean the government off of its addiction to spending by capping this year's increase at 4 percent. After last year's 8.5 percent increase, however, it may be time for the government to go cold turkey. I hope the president's budget is a blueprint for a new beginning -- one that reflects our values and restores the fundamental principles of a free society to allow individuals to pursue their dreams in their own way without the burdensome intrusion of an unfettered federal government," stated Rep. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
"We don't even know where the money the government is spending right now is going. Ten out of the fourteen Cabinet agencies have failed to complete a clean audit in at least two of the last four years, yet spending since 1997 has increased by nearly 25 percent. Before increasing spending any more, we ought to find out where the money we are spending right now is going," stated Rep. George Radanovich (R- Calif.).
"The spending proposals in the president's budget plan should be a ceiling rather than a floor," stated Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa).
Rep. Jim Ryun (R-Kan.) praised Bush's proposal as "a presidential budget that recognizes that a tax surplus is not just an excuse to spend more money on a bloated federal bureaucracy. President Bush is instead offering a measure of fiscal discipline that will allow us to move forward with a tax refund that rewards the taxpayers who created the surplus."
Over the past several years, the Republican Study Committee has led the fight to control federal spending by offering amendments to spending bills and delaying consideration of appropriations bills until spending targets are met.