(CNSNews.com) – With the federal budget at $3.5 trillion, the deficit at $1.4 trillion, and the national debt more than $14 trillion, lawmakers are busy talking about how to trim spending.
No plan has garnered more attention than one sponsored by freshman Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a Tea Party Republican, who introduced legislation Jan. 25 to cut spending across-the-board by $500 billion in one year to help get America out of its economic red.
Other Republican plans propose cuts of $79 billion and $100 billion over a multi-year period.
“I am proud to introduce my own solution to the mounting debt our spendthrift, oversized government has accrued,” Paul said in a January statement introducing the plan. “By rolling back to 2008 levels and eliminating the most wasteful programs, we can still keep 85 percent of our government funding in place.”
“By removing programs that are beyond the constitutional role of the federal government, such as Education and Housing, we are cutting nearly 40 percent of our projected deficit and removing the big government bureaucrats who stand in the way of efficiency in our federal government,”
The proposal would slash other budgets, with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) bearing the brunt of the proposed cuts.
Overall funding for HHS would be reduced from the current budgeted $900.853 billion in FY 2011 to just $26.5 billion – a 29.4 percent reduction. The National Institutes of Health would absorb 22 percent of the proposed cuts, with its budget reduced to $5.825 billion.
The budgets of other departments would be substantially reduced.
The Defense Department’s budget – which stands at $719 billion in Fiscal Year 2011 -- would be reduced by $73.7 billion.
Transportation would be cut from $75.3 billion to $42.8 billion; Agriculture would go from $132.3 billion down to $42.5 billion; Homeland Security would go from $51.6 down to $23.8 billion; the State Department budget would go from $56.8 billion down to $20.321 billion and Interior would go from $12.4 down to $10.9 billion.
The Rand proposal would leave the Treasury Department, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration budgets untouched.
The Defense Department would gain the functions of the Department of Energy and the Coast Guard, according to this proposal.
At the State Department, “all international organizations and conferences and international commissions will be defunded,” according to the plan.
All federal subsidies to Amtrak would be eliminated, according to this legislation.
The plan would also defund most independent agencies, including: the Affordable Housing Program, the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, State Justice Institute, as well as the Bureau of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior and all accounts and programs of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
USDA, meanwhile, would lose the Agriculture Research Service, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Resources Conservation Service and the Foreign Agricultural Service through defunding.