NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Will Congress Cut Federal Programs?

September 2, 1997

In 1995 and 1996 Congress did close down 297 programs -- including the Cattle Tick Eradication Program, the Small Business Administration tree-planting program and a House parking lot and congressional barber shop (both of which were privatized).

But most of the programs that were cut had price tags of $1 million or less, whereas some of the largest programs once slated for the federal graveyard have been retained and in some cases expanded. Of the 40 largest programs House Republicans pledged to eliminate three years ago:

  • Spending for the Department of Commerce increased by 12 percent from 1995 to 1997, from $3,401 million to $3,808 million.
  • School-to-Work Opportunities Grants and Local Partnerships increased 427 percent, from $63 million to $332 million.
  • And Homeless Assistance Grants increased by 2,275 percent, from $12 million to $285 million.

Some analysts say the 1998 appropriations bill will test whether or not Congress is serious about cutting spending. They do point out that spending for two other departments scheduled for elimination has been cut. Spending for the Department of Education was cut by 9 percent between 1995 and 1997, from $31,322 million to $28,340 million, and the Department of Energy was cut 12 percent, from $17,617 million to $15,423 million.

Source: Stephen Moore (Cato Institute), Wall Street Journal, September 2, 1997.


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