Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., called Bush's proposed cuts in education and health ``scandalous'' while Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said she was ``disappointed and even surprised'' at the extent of the administration's proposed cuts in Medicaid and Medicare.
Given the level of congressional frustration, administration witnesses, led by Treasury Secretary John Snow, were expected to face a tough sales job before various congressional committees on Tuesday.
Bush's spending blueprint for the 2007 budget year that begins Oct. 1 would provide large increases for the military and homeland security but would trim spending in the one-sixth of the budget that covers the rest of discretionary spending. Nine Cabinet agencies would see outright reductions with the biggest percentage cuts occurring in the departments of Transportation, Justice and Agriculture.
And in mandatory programs - so-called because the government must provide benefits to all who qualify - the president is seeking over the next five years savings of $36 billion in Medicare, $5 billion in farm subsidy programs, $4.9 billion in Medicaid support for poor children's health care and $16.7 billion in additional payments from companies to shore up the government's besieged pension benefit agency.