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Boehner Pledges 5% House Budget Cut as a Start on Deficit

U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner
U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio. Photographer: Brendan Hoffman/Bloomberg

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Incoming U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, saying reduced government spending begins at home, promised to seek a 5 percent cut in the chamber’s legislative budget as one of the first steps when Republicans take control next year.

Republicans, who captured the House from Democrats in the November election with a net gain of 63 seats, campaigned on a pledge to decrease government spending to 2008 levels. That would require Congress to find $100 billion in cuts next year.

“We should start with ourselves,” Boehner, 61, said in an interview taped for CBS’s “60 Minutes” program that airs Dec. 12. “How about we start with cutting Congress?”

The Ohio Republican said he planned to “cut my leadership budget 5 percent” and “cut all the leadership budgets by 5 percent.” He said, “I am going to cut every committee’s budget by 5 percent and every member is going to see a 5 percent reduction in their allowance.”

This would save the taxpayers $25 million to $30 million, he said. “We have to start somewhere,” Boehner said when asked how such a relatively small amount would make a difference in an annual federal deficit that totaled about $1.3 trillion this year.

Boehner, who will take office Jan. 5 when the new Congress convenes, said the House will debate a measure to cut spending every week for the first three months of 2011.

“We don’t need 2,000-page bills,” he said. “We don’t need thousand-page bills. How about one page?”

To contact the reporter on this story: James Rowley in Washington at jarowley@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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