With a vow to slash the cost of government without resorting to “a mean spirit or a meat ax,” President Clinton on Monday announced another set of spending cuts in federal agencies.
Clinton said the latest reductions will save $13.1 billion and eliminate nearly 5,000 federal jobs over the next five years at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Small Business Administration, the Interior Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The savings will be used to help pay for Clinton’s $60 billion middle-class tax cut, which he announced in December to counter much larger Republican tax reduction proposals.
Clinton insisted that his streamlining efforts are not only more realistic than those of his GOP rivals, they are more “humane and decent.”
He noted that his government-cutting plans would preserve summer jobs programs, subsidized school lunches and the national service corps, all targets of Republican budget-cutters on Capitol Hill.
The newest budget cuts will be deepest at NASA, which will lose $8 billion and 2,000 jobs over the next five years, representing roughly a 10 percent cut in budget and personnel over that period.
At Interior, officials are planning to turn over to states and American Indian tribes the job of collecting oil and mineral royalties on publicly owned land. Spinning off that function will save an estimated $69 million and 700 jobs over the next five years.
The agency also will close the Office of Territorial and International Affairs, a relic of America’s brief tenure as a colonial power. The office oversees relations with a number of Pacific islands that became U.S. territories under U.N. mandate after World War II, including Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Marianas Islands.
The savings from closing the office totals $5 million over five years.
Interior also will turn over to Maryland and Virginia several scenic parkways now maintained at federal expense - the BaltimoreWashington Parkway, the George Washington and Clara Barton Parkways and the Suitland Parkway. The federal government will contribute to their maintenance over the next three years and then phase out the payments.
Overall, Interior will contribute $3.8 billion in savings and 2,000 in job reductions.