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%."