- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 14, 2011

Congress’ chief scorekeeper said Thursday that the deal President Obama reached with Congress actually will lead to only $20 to $25 billion less in actual outlays, or money paid out  — far short of the $37.7 billion leaders had claimed.

The final total also just may be one-third of what House Republicans had sought when they passed a bill cutting $61 billion.

The House approved the deal Thursday afternoon, and the Senate is expected to follow suit. The two chambers are racing a Friday midnight deadline when government funding runs out.

The Congressional Budget Office said the bill reduced “budget authority” by $37.7 billion, but that doesn’t always translate into that big a reduction in spending.

In this case, Democrats insisted that many of the cuts come from automatic, formula-driven spending, and that has lowered the actual total.

“Many of the reductions in budget authority for mandatory programs would have little or no effect on outlays in 2011 or future years. As a result, the estimated change in cumulative outlays under H.R. 1473 ($20 billion to $25 billion) is less than the reduction in 2011 budget authority ($37.7 billion),” CBO said in a statement detailing the changes.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, the Ohio Republican who struck the deal behind closed doors with President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, told reporters that by reducing spending now, it will have a cumulative effect in the future.

“Today the House will vote on the largest non-defense spending cut in our nation’s history — $315 billion dollars over the next 10 years,” he said. “These are real cuts, and a signal to job creators that we’re serious about stopping Washington’s spending binge.”

With the actual size of cuts in question, some conservative House Republicans have said they will vote against the bill, though Republican leaders vowed to secure enough votes to pass the measure.

And they will have the help of at least some Democrats. House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, announced he will vote for the bill in order to keep the government open.

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