By Vicki Needham and Bernie Becker - 02/04/11 11:53 PM EST
Nearly a dozen Republican senators sent a letter on Friday urging the House to make at least $100 billion in spending cuts this year.
In a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Republican senators said the American people expect that level of spending reductions from the new GOP majority.
"We believe that, as part of the urgent need to cut federal spending, the total value of the fiscal year 2011 spending reductions in the upcoming continuing resolution should be no less than $100 billion," the senators said in the letter.
The senators noted in the letter that a cut of $100 billion would be only "one-15th" of this year's budget deficit.
The letter was signed by a group of reliably fiscal conservatives, including five newly sworn-in senators: Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Sens. Demint of South Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, John Ensign of Nevada, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and David Vitter of Louisiana also attached their name to the letter.
On Thursday, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who was given unilateral authority to set spending limits, said he would cap total appropriations at $1.055 trillion. That's $74 billion less than the budget request President Obama submitted to Congress for fiscal 2011 and $32 billion less than the level at which lawmakers agreed to maintain spending.
House Republicans had said during last year’s midterm campaign that they would make $100 billion in cuts, but top lawmakers had announced they would not hit that mark because the figure was based on President Obama's budget request for fiscal 2011, which was never enacted.
The Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative House members, have said that they still wanted the chamber to make $100 billion in spending reductions. Other House Republicans, including Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), are also pressing for deeper cuts.
Paul, meanwhile, said on Friday that the $32 billion in cuts is “really not going to touch the problem” and has proposed decreasing spending by $500 billion.