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Reagan Given Final List of $11.7 Billion Due for Budget Cuts

January 21, 1986|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The comptroller general sent to President Reagan today his final list of $11.7 billion in budget cuts that must be carried out by the President under the Gramm-Rudman deficit-reduction law.

Comptroller Gen. Charles A. Bowsher changed only slightly the tentative list of fiscal 1986 cuts determined last week by the President's Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office.

The final list includes an additional $44.6 million in defense spending cuts, and $3.3 million more in domestic spending cuts, mainly because the comptroller general in a few cases did not agree with the OMB and the GAO about whether specific accounts could be cut.

Overall, however, the final list confirms that, on March 1, 4.3% will be cut from domestic agency budgets and 4.9% from military programs not protected from the cuts.

Constitutional Question

Bowsher's list, under the law, must be carried out by the President--a provision the Administration contends is unconstitutional.

Gramm-Rudman, named for its original sponsors, Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) and Sen. Warren B. Rudman (R-N.H.), requires smaller deficits each year until a balanced budget is reached in fiscal 1991.

The OMB and the CBO both projected that the deficit in the current fiscal year would be more than $220 billion before the cuts, nearly $50 billion above the $171.9-billion target for the year.

Congress limited this year's cut to the $11.7 billion. But, for fiscal 1987, which begins Oct. 1, the deficit would have to be brought down to $144 billion.

If Congress and the President fail to agree on spending legislation or tax increases to reach the target, then deep, automatic, across-the-board cuts would bridge the gap. According to some estimates, government agencies including the Pentagon, the FBI and the Coast Guard would be cut by more than 20%.

Dole Urges Meeting

Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole called today for White House and congressional leaders to meet and settle their budget disputes.

"What I would envision in the next 30 days is, perhaps, a group of Democrats, Republicans and White House representatives sitting down together and trying to hammer out a budget that we could all agree on. That means everybody has to give, including the White House," Dole said.

For this congressional session, he said, "What we'd like to have . . . is a sort of partnership with the White House" that would have "Congress--Democrats, Republicans--(and) the White House all moving in the same direction to control the deficit."

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