January 21, 2011

Republicans Propose Big Cuts in National Service and International Aid

Nonprofit lobbyists will have their hands full in the new Congress. House Republican leaders have already said they want to bring a big chunk of federal spending this year back to 2008 levels.

But now a group of conservative Republicans says that's not enough. The Republican Study Committee, a bloc of more than 165 members, unveiled a proposal Thursday that would end a range of federal programs that benefit charities and their clients.

Among its proposals:

* Eliminate AmeriCorps and other national-service programs.

* Abolish the Agency for International Development.

* Close the national endowments for the arts and humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

* End Department of Energy grants to help low-income people weatherize their homes.

The plan would also reclaim any untapped stimulus money and return it to the federal treasury.

The Republican committee says the cuts are needed to curtail the spiraling national debt. "Unless Washington acts soon to cut spending, massive tax hikes, economic stagnation, and national bankruptcy will rob our children of the opportunity to reach for the American Dream," Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the committee's chairman, said in a statement.

The proposed cuts, laid out in the Spending Reduction Act of 2011, are part of a plan that would cut $2.5-trillion in federal spending over 10 years. Republican House leaders have so far proposed less drastic cuts but will face pressure to stand by their promises to reduce the size of  government.