Today the House was expected to begin debating a continuing resolution (CR) to fund federal agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year. Most federal agencies are currently being funded at 2010 levels under a CR that expires March 4.
The new CR proposed by House Republicans includes $1.029 trillion in regular discretionary spending -- about $100 billion below the President's request for Fiscal Year 2011 and $61 billion below the 2010 level. Some Republicans argued that an earlier version did not comply with a pledge to cut $100 billion during the first year.
Increased scrutiny of appropriations is a positive development. However, the bill's large cuts from 2010 levels for several programs still only save the equivalent of four percent of this year's projected $1.5 trillion deficit. This is the problem with a deficit-reduction strategy that relies primarily on discretionary spending. To achieve a sustainable fiscal policy, revenues and mandatory spending must also be on the table.