President Obama will propose a three-year freeze at current levels on total "non-security" spending--the budget sector that includes most federal construction programs--beginning in fiscal year 2011, senior administration officials say.
But within that total, budgets for individual departments and agencies and specific line-item programs that are Obama priorities could rise, officials say. Details will be disclosed Feb. 1, when the President transmits his 2011 budget proposal to Congress.
Rob Nabors, the Office of Management and Budget's deputy director, told reporters Jan. 26 that the proposed spending cap would apply to overall non-security funding, and hold it for three year's at 2010's level of $447 billion.
"It is a top-line freeze," Nabors added. "It is not a freeze on every agency or every program." He said,"There are going to be increases for certain presidential priorities."
Nabors declined to provide many specifics, but did say items that are "most important to the President" include "things like education, things like energy research. They're at the top of the list."
Nabors also noted, "We did not do an across-the-board cut," which would have involved trimming all accounts by the same percentage.
He said that it wouldn't apply to programs funded by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or a follow-on jobs bill that the administration would like to see enacted this year. The House has approved a $154-billion jobs package with a large infrastructure component, and Senate Democrats are working on a proposal, too.
Nabors says that security-related programs that are exempt from the freeze would be those at Depts. of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security as well as those in the international affairs category.
Officials say that the freeze would save an estimated $250 billion over the next decade.