FY2012 Budget Debate Began Yesterday
In case you missed this yesterday because you were slow-cooking chili while waiting for the Super Bowl to begin, the communications battles on the fiscal 2012 budget began yesterday with this op-ed in the New York Times by OMB Director Jack Lew that provides the first few details about the reductions that will be proposed next Monday.
Most of the op-ed is a repeat of the themes the president used when talking about the budget in his State of the Union Address. But unless I missed them somewhere else, these three soon-to-be-proposed cuts were mentioned for the first time:
- Community Service Block Grants: Cut by $350 million with the remaining amount changed from a formula to a competitive grant
- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: Cut by $125 million
- Community Development Block Grants: Cut by $300 million
Several things stand out about the op-ed.
First, the proposals are going to put a lot of Republican governors and mayors on the spot. I suspect the administration wants to force these GOP officials to be seen lobbying against the spending cut proposals. Look for them to be invited to some high profile meetings at the White House with heavy media coverage.
Second, the op-ed provides some details on cuts but provides nothing more than generalities on the increases we've been told are coming in certain areas. In fact, that's only mentioned in the first sentence of the next-to-last paragraph and in a throwaway line in the last graph.
Third, the focus on the cuts in the piece very likely is the messaging strategy the White House plans to use for the budget debate as a whole.