As the President ponders making available oil from the government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the Congressional Budget Office has issued a report containing suggestions for cutting federal spending; including releasing oil from the reserve. CBO recommends reducing the reserve by about 10% during the 2012 to 2016 period and then maintain a reserve of 650 million barrels. The present mandated limit in one billion barrels.
But the CBO didn't stop there. It had recommendations that hit every aspect of government, including deficit reduction options for USDA to reach $56 billion over the next 10 years. Other reductions would reduce Department of Energy funding for energy technology development and impose a price on emissions of greenhouse gases. CBO also recommends the financing of the Food Safety and Inspection Service through fees. Another recommendation would increase fees for the use of the inland waterway system.
The largest savings would come in two areas: financing the Food Safety and Inspection Service entirely with fees paid by meat and poultry plants, and holding the federal crop insurance subsidy to half of the premium paid by farmers. Each would save $5 billion in five years and another $7 billion during the second five years. CBO notes in its own narrative, there are good arguments for and against each of its suggestions.