Agencies stick to 'modest' requests before President's budget release

Wednesday - 2/8/2012, 11:42am EST

Molly Hooper, reporter, The Hill newspaper

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Four federal agencies made what The Hill newspaper describes as "modest" budget proposals for fiscal year 2013, which begins Oct. 1.

The Library of Congress, Government Printing Office, Government Accountability Office and Congressional Budget Office testified before the House Appropriations Legislative Branch subcommittee Tuesday on their fiscal 2013 budget requests.

Their plans come one week before the President is expected to release his fiscal 2013 budget. The White House proposal is likely to include the $500 billion in sequestration cuts to defense spending said Molly Hooper, a staff writer with The Hill.

Hooper said to expect Republicans to come out with their version of a fiscal 2013 proposal.

"The Republicans who are anathema to cut the $500 billion ... are trying to find ways to substitute that money in other portions of their budget," Hooper said in an interview with The Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

Last week, a group of Republican senators led by Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl proposed a budget plan that targets federal pay and benefits to prevent the defense cuts. The plan would extend the pay freeze through mid-2014 and require that only two federal employees be hired for every three that leave until the federal workforce is 5 percent smaller than today's numbers.

'Bold' changes unlikely

Last year, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, released a budget proposal outlining sweeping changes to entitlements. Ryan "took a lot of heat" for his proposals, Hooper said. This year, Republicans can be expected to take a different tone. For example, Ryan has been working with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Medicare reform.

The campaign season will also prevent "anything bold" from being proposed.

"It's such a politically charged environment on Capitol Hill, and with that dynamic, it's very difficult to get things done," Hooper said.

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