Budget negotiators agree on spending cut target, Biden says
March 30th, 2011
09:52 PM ET
3 years ago

Budget negotiators agree on spending cut target, Biden says

Washington (CNN) –- Vice President Joe Biden announced late Wednesday that House and Senate bipartisan negotiators had agreed to a spending-cut target of $73 billion in 2011 budget talks aimed at heading off a government shutdown before next week, when a temporary bill keeping the government operating runs out.

Congress has been passing a series of short term spending resolutions since October 1, when the 2011 fiscal year began.

‘We’re all working off the same number now - $73 billion,” Biden said, emerging from a lengthy meeting with Senate Democratic leaders in the Capitol. “Obviously, there’s a difference in the composition of that number. What’s included, what’s not included. It’s gong to be a thorough negotiation.”

Biden said he spoke with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and both men agreed the rest of the negotiations could be challenging in terms of reaching an agreement on what the make-up of the cuts will be and whether to include controversial policy restrictions in the bill.

“There’s no deal until there a total deal,” Biden said.

A spokesman for Boehner drove that point home.

“No, there is no deal until everything is settled –- spending cuts and policy restrictions.”

Nevertheless, reaching an agreement on the target spending-cut figure is a step forward in the negotiations, which have been marked by acrimony and public sniping between the Republicans who control the House and the Democrats who control the Senate. It remains unclear if Tea Party-backed conservatives, who have pressed hard for cuts much deeper that $73 billion, will go along with any agreement.

House Republicans originally wanted about $100 billion in cuts while Senate Democrats proposed $51 billion. Those figures are based on President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for 2011, which was never enacted.

The $73 billion means the two sides essentially decided to split the difference.

Why is this deal a critical milepost in the negotiations? Simple, yet complicated.

Republicans have a majority in the House and could probably vote out a more radical set of cuts. But without a compromise in the Senate, even if a proposal came to the floor, a filibuster could stop it dead in its tracks, since neither party can muster the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.

So, agreement among negotiators means that both sides, in both houses, may be able to make real progress in the nitty-gritty of exactly what programs get cut to get to that $73 billion figure.


Filed under: Congress • Joe Biden
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    I know, I know. Cut taxes for the wealthy, corporations, and lobbyists, and raise fees for the poor and take away all their rights. WOW!! So Fascist.

    March 30, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  2. jefflz

    The Republiucans have destroyed this country .The right wing Republicans have given us: (1) The financial crisis which has led to massive borrowing due to Republican failure to regulate the banks, (2) Bush's War which along with enormous tax cuts to the very wealthy in the face of trillions in unfunded war costs, (3) Big Brother spying on Americans and a whole list of additional Constitutional abuses which are just coming to light, (4) Huge government subsidies to corrupt war contractors like Blackwater and Haliburton. And these hypocritical, uninformed so called "Tea Party" bigots act so self-righteous when it is their heroes – the Bushes and Cheney's of this world that have placed us in the current economic mess.

    But never fear, the Democrats will roll over time and again – they have no backbone and the caver-in-chief is Barack Obama.

    March 30, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  3. MR

    I hope there is something in these cuts that effects the wealthy and corporations in this country. They keep getting richer and everyone else looses. Seriously, companies like GE don't pay taxes but we're cutting WIC Nutritional programs for poor infants and children. If we are going to reduce the deficit, EVERYONE should contribute, including the wealthy...God forbid we raise their taxes, the economy will suffer. Oh wait....

    March 30, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  4. alan. saint louis

    What is really happening is rethuglicians are cutting benefits for middle working class and also trying to get bigger loop holes for the top 1 percent which owns the rethuglician party while democrats trying there best to protect the common people vs a government shut down the rethuglicians will have no shame in doing so to protect the elites even if it put our country in danger and cost lives in doing so. I don't understand why there are so many dumb common people that keeps voting against them selves lol

    March 30, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  5. leeper

    Wash post is reporting the number is 33 billion...what's the gap?

    March 30, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  6. Mike

    Completely and utterly garbage. $73 billion dollars is nothing when we're still going to be running a deficit with over a $10 trillion looming.

    March 30, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  7. valwayne

    If that's $73 billion is the final agreement than Obama and the democrats will have kept most of their massive corrupt spending intact. Most of that $73 billion isn't a cut in anything its an imaginary cutback in the increased spending that Obama and the democrats were planning that would futher increase the debt. If that is the final number it means that Obama and the Democrats have won, working Americans and the nation have lost, and the Republicans are worthless!

    March 30, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  8. stand4trugh

    Doesn't anyone remember the big tax cuts to the rich? No discussion about that? I haven't forgotten and I am very disappointed in the Democratic Party in caving all of the time and not keeping the message "we are dealing with a party that only wants to protect the rich and they do not care about the middle class". Since so many people appear not to be able to apply any critical thinking to anything and fail to know a lie when they hear one, do like Repubs. They repeat over and over again, take a page from their playbook. The average American is apparently not too intelligent so get your mantras going repeatedly. They'll get that.

    March 30, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I hope that this cutting the socially helpful programs doesn't hurt too many people. The GOP doesn't seem to care or expect people to pull themselves up by the boot that they may or may not have. I am assuming that this will cover the rest of the fiscal year. I'd likemnot to have to worry about a shut down part way through the year.

    March 30, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  10. Al

    Way too big for these cuts.

    March 30, 2011 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  11. T'sah from Virginia

    This is NOT good enough for the “perfect” TP
    Mark my word and YOU WILL SEE
    MOST Americans are now singing a brand new song
    TP is HEAD STRONG with policies DEAD WRONG!!

    The Repubs – feeling the full wrath – know what it’s about
    You’re either with TP 100% or the next election you’re OUT!
    And as the TP ratings continue to go down the drain
    The Repubs are falling with them and have NO ONE to blame!!!

    March 30, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  12. terry,va

    Where did this come from? Answer....Obummie was sinking fast in the polls and had to kiss the repubs !!!! You got a long way to go though Obummie.

    March 30, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  13. rusty155

    That the way It should be both side working together and met In the middle, and get thing done. After all both side are working for American people not just the rich like the TEA PARTY Is doing.

    March 30, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  14. jen

    Unfair that we are not allowed to add comments when we click on FB like!!! How about a fair equal tax rate for all entities (people, churches, corporations, everything, etc)? We all use roads, bridges, protective services plus this would eliminate the states courting corporations with free tax opportunities and raising tax burden on the lower/middle class. Demand shared sacrifices and equal fair taxes for all! Why is this not a national dialog with your audience and among our government officials?

    March 30, 2011 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  15. Don

    Maybe my math is wrong but with the annual deficit being $1.5 trillion dollars. Doesn’t this $73 billion cut equate to having a balanced budget for roughly 17 days? What are we going to do for the other 348?

    March 30, 2011 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  16. LHVJoe

    Wasn't the estimate for the Afghanistan war around $2b per week. Doing some easy math that's 36.5 weeks of war. I think I solved the budget target!! Of course republicans won't cut defense at all.

    March 31, 2011 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  17. Cheryl McGovern

    I haven't seen anything in the press or internet about senate bill 388 passed March 2, 2011 that prohibits congress or the president from getting paid if the government shuts down. House speaker Boehner is "holding it at the desk"......rather than bringing to a vote by the House of Representatives. As you know, a bill that is passed by one house (representative or senate) must be passed by the other house and signed by the president before it comes law. It has been a month almost since the senate passed it. Several letters from senators have been sent to Boehner but yet he has failed to bring it before the house. What a bunch of hypocrites. It is suppose to all about saving money and they can't even cut their own pay!!!

    March 31, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  18. Brian

    So I guess democrats decided it wouldn't be the "best thing in the world" for them for the country to shutdown?

    March 31, 2011 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  19. Bill from GA

    With Dems and Pres. Obama trying to get a budget for the rest of the year, so the Pentagon and the rest of the government can plan their spending, Boehner says: “No, there is no deal until everything is settled –- spending cuts and policy restrictions.”

    "Policy restrictions"?? Now the repugs want to hold up America's government for policy restrictions. This means cripple the EPA, so their Big Business cronies (Henchmen? Bosses? Masters?) can continue to wipe out the environment for a few more pieces of gold in their pockets.

    I hope the dems have the guts to stand up for something, like our future. When they gave in to tax cuts for the rich last fall, they sealed the fate of America. Dems have little to bargain with now, and the repugs stand firm for Big Business only.

    I wonder what the dems will give up to get the next year's budget passed; their first-born child?? Or maybe just cancel Social Security; the rich don't need it anyway.

    March 31, 2011 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  20. bobden

    No budget cuts until tax breaks for the super wealthy people and companies are cut/removed.
    No budget cuts until house and senate pay and operating costs are cut by at least 30%.
    No budget cuts until subsidies to big farming and oil/gas companies are deleted.

    March 31, 2011 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  21. S1N

    So, 73 billion down. That only leaves a 1.38 trillion deficit for the year.

    March 31, 2011 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  22. sara

    Ideologues budget cuts that will target the basic programs that Americans depemd on more so now than ever! Why are the Democrats continuing to deal with these people. Cutting early childhood education, nutrition programs to needy families, targeting social security. In this economy, why are these cuts taking place, when the shared sacrifice is Not being shared by all. I am surprised that the screaming is going on in Congress when they have added to the deficit by arguing and then got a nearly trillion dollars in tax breaks for the wealthy. The budget cuts isn't creating any JOBS that they ran and conned the country to vote for them. I can't wait until the next election as I will have my marching shoes on. Enough hits to the families of this country while you have corporations and the wealthy acting as if they're not Americans, of course until it's time for their tax cuts and corporations does not even have to be in this country producing. This is Shameful and morally wrong. They're screaming about a teacher making 50 thousand dollars a year, when you have a WI rep. complaining about his $175,000 per year paycheck as it isn't enough. Shame!

    March 31, 2011 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  23. J.V.Hodgson

    What a joke we have consensus on the amount and democracy says the party with the ultimate Filibuster i.e/
    Presidential veto = dems have the advantage , in terms of content.
    So get your Republicam pledge almost and help the economy recover instead of damaging the people and business.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    March 31, 2011 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  24. gmh

    The people are getting what they voted for. If there are cuts in education, programs that protect the safety of the people, and cuts to the poor so be it. Also, cuts that kill jobs. Democrats are weak.........ALL of us having to bend to the Tea Party because they have the ulltra rich behind them. Shameful.......Let's distroy ourselves and help the rich so we can become like the Middle East. The rich and powerful handing out bread crumbs to the rest of us. (Have Mercy on the Rich. Hadom...)

    March 31, 2011 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
  25. John D.

    Watch out Boehner. You know how sneaky the dems and how much they lie. Forget about Biden as he is imaterial. Keep your eyes on Old dirty harry and shlummer! They're the scum of the earth!

    March 31, 2011 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
1 2