By contrast, of Mr. Obama’s $17 billion in cuts only $11.5 billion comes from discretionary programs, with the rest coming from entitlement spending, which is traditionally tougher to reduce.
Mr. Obama released a broad 2010 budget outline in February and Congress already has passed its version. The document Mr. Obama released Thursday provides a request for funding every program in the federal government.
Some of those details emerged late Wednesday as the administration briefed members of Congress and key interest groups.
Homeland security is poised to see a substantial increase as the administration looks to shore up border security, target employers who hire illegal immigrants and combat the potential for spillover violence from Mexico, said several people briefed on the spending.
But the Associated Press reported that one cut will come from the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which gives money to states to help defray the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants who commit crimes. That program is popular with border state lawmakers of both parties, who say the federal government must foot the bill for failing to enforce its borders.
That’s not the only likely non-starter.
Mr. Obama called for cutting the Even Start literacy program for a savings of $66 million. He said the program has been performed “badly” and is not particularly efficient, with half the program’s costs going to overhead.
“The evidence is unfortunately clear. This specific early childhood education program does not work very well,” the administration official told reporters.
But Mr. Bush repeatedly put the program on his list of cuts, only to see Congress fund it year after year, though at reduced levels. It has powerful allies, including minority rights groups and top Democratic members of the education and spending committees.
The four other specific cuts the administration official detailed were:
• Ending payments to states for cleanup of abandoned mines that already have been cleaned up, for a reduction of $142 million.
• Closing the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation, for a savings of $1 million. The administration says the foundation, which pays for teams of students from eight middle schools to travel to Disney World for a science competition, spent about 80 percent of its funding on overhead.
• Eliminating the position of education attache to UNESCO that the government keeps in Paris, at a cost of $632,000 a year.
• Ending the LORAN-C program, a long-range radio navigation system that the government says is obsolete with the widespread use of global positioning satellites. Cutting the program would save $142 million.
• Gary Emerling contributed to this report.
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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