The Washington Post reported Saturday that Republicans, who will take control of the House next year, were firming their budget plans and expected to chop 20 percent of government spending, while leaving budgets at the Defense Department and Homeland Security intact. That means the Departments of Education and Transportation, the Environment Protection Agency and others would bear the brunt of the spending cuts.
In addition, Republicans are likely to seek $160 billion in cuts under direct advisement of a Web site sponsored by Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., called "YouCut," on which the public makes their own cuts, wielding a hypothetical scalpel.
There will also be pressure for Republicans to make deeper cuts. "This is a good start, but Congress can do much more," Heritage Foundation budget analyst Brian Riedl told the Post.
The Heritage Foundation has published a list suggesting $343 billion in budget cuts from the government's $1.1 trillion budget. The 20 percent reduction in domestic programs and $160 billion in discretionary cuts creates a total of less than that: $260 billion.
What that does to the national debt, however, is marginal, meaning the government deficit is likely to hit a Congress-approved debt limit of $14.3 trillion in the spring.
Some, including Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, have said they expect deeper cuts in exchange for their vote on raising the debt limit.
Without raising the limit, the nation would go into default.