Obama: House GOP budget would slash federal services

Tuesday - 4/3/2012, 3:48pm EDT

President Obama said the fiscal 2013 budget plan passed by the Republican-controlled House will cut into crucial federal services.

If the House GOP budget is implemented, the Justice Department will have 4,500 fewer grants to fight crime, hundreds of national parks will have to close for part or all of the year, and agencies will not be able to enforce the laws that protect air, water and food quality, the President said Tuesday in a speech at an Associated Press luncheon at the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention in Washington.

"Cuts to the FAA would likely result in more flight cancellations, delays and the complete elimination of air traffic control services in parts of the country," he said. "Over time, our weather forecasts would become less accurate because we wouldn't be able to afford to launch new satellites. And that means governors and mayors would have to wait longer to order evacuations in the event of a hurricane."

The President added, "That's just a partial sampling of the consequences of this budget."

The House GOP budget, led by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), did not specify these cuts, but does envision discretionary and mandatory spending of about $40 trillion over the next decade — $7 trillion less than spending projected in the White House proposal.

Ryan's budget included cuts to federal pay and benefits. It would freeze federal employees' pay through 2015, increase retirement contributions and cut the federal workforce by 10 percent over three years through attrition.

The President's budget proposal included a 0.5 percent pay increase for feds but also a 1.5 retirement contribution increase over three years. The administration plan did not detail any workforce cuts, however.

"This larger debate that we will be having and that you will be covering in the coming year, about the size and role of government — this debate has been with us since our founding days," President Obama said. "And during moments of great challenge and change, like the ones we're living through now, the debate gets sharper, it gets more vigorous. That's a good thing."

House Democrats have released their version of a budget that makes no changes to federal pay, benefits and workforce size.

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