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Obama proposes cutting, consolidating 210 programs to save $24B

Feb. 13, 2012 - 06:00AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
President Obama speaks to students at Northern Virginia Community College about the fiscal 2013 budget in Annandale, Va., on Feb. 13.
President Obama speaks to students at Northern Virginia Community College about the fiscal 2013 budget in Annandale, Va., on Feb. 13. (Jewel Samad / AFP via Getty Images)

The Obama administration's 2013 budget request outlines 210 proposed cuts, consolidations and other economies with a projected savings of more than $24 billion next year.

A Transportation Department airport grant program, for example, would be chopped by more than $900 million down more than one-quarter from this year's total by ending guaranteed funding for large- and medium-hub airports.

Also targeted for a major reduction is NASA funding for robotic exploration of Mars, which would be cut from $587 million to $361 million. Following last November's launch of the multibillion-dollar Mars Science Laboratory mission, the administration is proposing "a lower-cost approach that will advance science" and "lay the foundation for future human exploration," the request says.

Dozens of other programs in line for reductions include the Navy's Joint High Speed Vessel, Agriculture Department pest and disease control, and the Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center, a Pennsylvania facility that Congress has already ordered to be closed.

Most of the proposed program cuts would need congressional approval, but the administration can pursue more than 40 on its own. Merging management of the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Public Debt and Financial Management Service, for example, would save an estimated $18 million by 2016. The White House also plans to combat waste in the Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program with a variety of measures carrying an estimated savings of $161 million next year.

The administration's cost-cutting agenda incorporates 27 ideas submitted by federal employees through its SAVE program. Among them is the 2011 winner: a proposal by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center employee Matthew Ritsko to curb unneeded tool purchases through the equivalent of a lending library. The expected savings in 2013, according to the White House: $1.1 million.

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