The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction convened for its third public hearing on Wednesday morning to discuss discretionary spending, which makes up about 40 percent of the budget, a day after a closed-door meeting that highlighted the gap between Democrats and Republicans on entitlement and tax reform.
Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf warned the committee that its decisions on discretionary spending could be voided by future Congresses, and highlighted the savings already netted from discretionary outlays.
“Lawmakers have already taken significant steps to constrain discretionary spending,” Elmendorf said, noting that total discretionary funding in 2011 was lower than it had been since 2002 because of cuts already made to the discretionary budget.
Democrats on the committee are seeking about half of the expected savings from revenue hikes and half in spending cuts, sources told Reuters. They also propose about $400 billion in Medicare cuts, half in benefit cuts, half in provider savings.
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