WASHINGTON — House Republicans Tuesday unveiled legislation to get rid of AmeriCorps, the national service program, and cut off federal funding for National Public Radio, public television and Planned Parenthood.
The moves would come in a controversial spending bill that pays for labor, health and education programs for the budget year beginning Oct. 1.
The measure is dead on arrival with Democrats but contains many provisions to please tea party conservatives.
"This bill is an extremely partisan proposal, stands little chance of even being brought up on the House floor, and will rightly be disregarded by both the Senate and the president," said Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington, top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.
The cuts to community service programs, funded at $1 billion this year, would slash such programs by 74 percent on the path to eliminating them entirely, save for a program for senior citizens. National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service are familiar targets, too, but have been rejected before. NPR is seen as left-leaning while Republicans say PBS could get along just fine without taxpayer help.
But to find the $6.3 billion in cuts across the measure, Republicans went well beyond simply slashing Democratic initiatives. Funding of $10.7 billion to administer the Social Security program, for instance, would be cut $1.1 billion below President Barack Obama’s request, cutting funding for computers upgrades, new hires and “program integrity” money designed to find mistakes and combat fraud. Medicare and the Medicaid health program for the poor and disabled would absorb an even larger cut to operating funds.
The legislation would, however, maintain heating subsidies for the poor at $3.4 billion and Title I school funding at $15 billion and give a slight boost to special education for the disabled. Head Start would get a small increase and grants for local community action groups that serve the elderly and the poor would be maintained at the current budget of $712 million.