YouCut, the online effort to engage voters in deciding what to cut from the federal budget brought the first winning (or losing) item to the floor for a vote last week, the New Non-Reformed Welfare Program with an estimated $2.5 billion in annual savings. Not surprisingly, with a vote of 177-240 the measure was not carried.
Last week's winning cut, announced by Rep. Michele Bachmann (see video below), is to Eliminate the Federal Employee Pay Raise (approximately $2 billion savings in first year with approximately $300 billion over ten years). USA Today has reported that the median salary for federal civilian workers is 20% higher than private-sector workers in the same occupation. Still, annual raises, which have averaged 3.6% annually, are currently planned.
The next set of five items has been posted on the YouCut website. The potential chopping block items include:
- Refocus National Archive Activities on Preserving Federal Records (estimated $10 million savings in first year; $100 million over ten years) - Millions are currently spent annually on grants for state and local governments, universities and other institutions.
- Reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (estimated $30 billion savings) - End their government conservatorship, shrink their portfolios, establish minimum capital standards, and bring transparency.
- Terminate Broadcasting Facility Grant Programs that Have Completed their Mission (estimated $25 million savings in first year; $250 million in ten years) - Grant was initially created to help broadcasters make the switch to digital broadcasting, a transition which was completed in 2009.
- Reduce Spending on Non-Essential and Questionable Research (estimated $3.8 million savings in first year) - Item would reduce dollar-for-dollar from each agency that received grants for questionable research including studying the use of malt liquor and marijuana in combination (over $389k), impact of alcohol on coed "hookups" ($219k), disorientation of drunk mice (over $8k), machine-generated humor (over $712k), meth and female rat sex drives (nearly $29k), privacy and features on social networks ($498k), controlling home appliances in Martha's Vineyard from an off-site computer (over $787k), football glove development ($150k), division of labor in ant colonies ($950k), and Icelandic Arctic environment in the Viking Age (nearly $95k).
- Consolidate and Reduce Funding for Federal Advisory Committees ($34 million savings in first year; $170 million over five years) - In 2008, the Federal government funded 917 active Federal Advisory Committees. This proposal would eliminate committees which serve duplicate purposes.
To read details about each of these proposed cuts and to cast your vote, visit the YouCut website.
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