October 26, 2011
Just a day after a heated closed-door meeting that indicated there’s still a large gap between Democrats and Republicans on entitlement and tax reform, 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.
In prepared opening remarks, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf, who testified during the group’s first public hearing on the drivers of the debt, carefully explained budgetary concepts, warned the committee that its decisions on discretionary spending could be voided by future Congresses, and highlighted the savings already wrung 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.
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