Sex abstinence program among Obama's targeted cuts

President Obama wants to cut funding for sex abstinence programs.

President Obama wants to ax funding for abstinence from sex education.

By cutting the abstinence grant, the country would save $5 million. It's among a list of "wasteful spending" that the President would slash if he gets his way on the budget.

Other more impressive cuts include wiping out ground combat vehicles, which saves $51 million. Trimming subsidies for poor families to heat their homes would save another $625 million.

In his latest budget, the President proposed 136 cuts, yielding $17 billion in savings. It was the fewest number of cuts proposed since he first took office in 2009. By contrast, Obama pledged 215 cuts with $25 billion in savings just last year.

The White House budget office said it pulled back on proposed spending cuts to stay within the confines of a 2013 deal that stretches the budget over two years. It also wanted to recognize deep cuts that the federal government has already weathered, thanks to the sequester.

Related: Obama wants better tax deal for working families

Almost every year in the last decade, both Presidents Obama and George W. Bush have identified redundant, bloated or useless programs and departments to be cut from the federal budget.

Lawmakers have mostly ignored them.

Take the abstinence-only sex education, a hallmark of the Bush administration. In 2007, researchers who followed 2000 children over 10 years concluded that abstinence-only programs don't keep teenagers from having sex. The study was mandated by Congress for the U.S. Administration for Children and Families.

President Obama had eliminated funding for abstinence-only programs in his 2010 budget. But Congress restored some of the funding, most recently in its latest budget deal. More than $175 million is spent on other sex education programs.

"Taxpayers want to know: Is my money going to something that's making a difference," said Bill Albert, chief program officer for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "In the grand scheme of things, $5 million doesn't amount to a hill of beans, but on the other hand, abstinence-only is not a program based on science."

How spending has fallen under Obama

Among other things on President Obama's list of cuts:

Obama: Budget 'is about our values'
Obama: Budget 'is about our values'

* A Department of Justice program that pays counties or states for jailing illegal immigrants with criminal records. It would save $180 million.

* The U.S. Army's Kiowa Helo helicopter fleet, which has been in use since 1969. Savings: $108 million.

* Consolidate agriculture offices and slash 250 nationwide. Savings: $39 million.

House Republicans say scrubbing spending is key to easing federal deficits. They have passed several proposed budgets over the past few years that drastically slash all kinds of spending but those have failed to clear the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The White House also launched a campaign in recent years to cut wasteful spending.

But without Congress, the president's power is limited to working around the edges, such as cutting duplication within agency budgets.

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