Washington (CNN) - Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer revealed Sunday that about half the $38.5 billion in cuts agreed upon in last week’s budget negotiations came from mandatory spending areas like agriculture and highway funding.
The senior New York senator said reductions in the spending programs, known in appropriations parlance as "changes in mandatory spending" or CHIMPS, brought down spending while allowing other programs like Head Start to continue.
“That’s what allowed us to get to that number,” Schumer said Sunday on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” “The Tea Party folks wanted them all to come from the domestic discretionary. And it’s much broader than that.”
Examples of mandatory spending programs include Pell Grants, the Children's Health Insurance Program and some types of highway funding. Such programs are funded for multiple years at a time, with the spending set for the time period covered, exempting them from congressional authorization each year.
Republicans argued that reducing the spending in mandatory programs for one year does not prevent the amount from returning to its original level the following year, and therefore does not reduce the overall size and cost of government.
While some Democrats complained the administration accepted cuts aimed unduly at the poor, Schumer said the White House and Senate Democrats advocated cuts to mandatory spending programs to reduce the burden on discretionary programs.
“The cuts are across the board. Everybody gives some pain,” Schumer said. “But as for the specifics, those are going to be published Monday.”
And while the deal will likely appease many on both sides of the political aisle, Republican Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana said the cuts weren’t “good enough.”
“I think John Boehner fought the good fight. I think he drove a hard bargain here,” Pence told reporters. “From what I know, it sounds like John Boehner got a good deal. Probably not good enough for me to support it, but a good deal nonetheless.”
- CNN’s Tom Cohen contributed to this report