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1st Budget Cuts Could Hit 7.4%, Democrats Say

January 24, 1986|United Press International

WASHINGTON — The first round of budget cuts, scheduled to go into effect March 1, may carve deeper--as much as 7.4%--than assumed into some programs in the current fiscal year, a Democratic staff analysis showed today.

The $11.7-billion cut required by the Gramm-Rudman Act would pare 4.9% or $5.4 billion from defense and 4.3% or $4.9 billion from non-exempt non-military programs in addition to $1 billion in savings from suspension of cost-of-living increase in retirement benefits.

But the analysis by the Democratic staff on the Senate Budget Committee said, "The effective reduction in program level for some programs may be higher than 4.5% or 4.9%.

"Cuts will not begin until March 1, when the fiscal year is almost half over," the analysis said. "If a program spends evenly throughout the year, the program level in the remaining months will have to drop by 7.4% in order to achieve an annualized rate of 4.3%."

Non-Defense Cuts

In a detailed, 34-page assessment, the Democrats pinpointed where some cuts will come in non-defense areas unless Congress and the President agree on an alternative by March 1:

--Israel has already agreed to return $51.6 million in economic support, but another $296 million will have to be cut in foreign aid.

--The National Aeronautics and Space Administration may seek a transfer of money to keep the space shuttles going up on schedule and target cuts in programs that do not have specific launch windows.

--Less frequent weather reporting is expected in some areas.

--Cuts would be made in rural housing loans, postal subsidies and small business loans.

--There would be no cuts in Federal Aviation Administration air controllers but possible layoffs among support personnel.

--Cuts would be made in Coast Guard personnel, with possible closing of some stations and dry-docking of some ships.

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