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Coburn's 'Wastebook' Outlines Possible Budget Cuts

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Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has laid out his third annual "Wastebook" to highlight government programs that could be cut in order to trim the deficit. The proposal provides a glimpse of programs lawmakers may target in deficit reduction negotiations.

Coburn is teaming up with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and six other senators in an effort to divert hundreds of billions of dollars in pending budget cuts. The "Gang of Eight" has been mum on specifics, but this week Coburn released a list of projects he wants on the chopping block. 

His Wastebook highlights what he calls unnecessary federal spending, such as tax breaks for pro sports leagues and  efforts to promote caviar consumption. The proposal is intended to change the dialogue on Capitol Hill, says Coburn's spokesperson John Hart says

"The problem with Washington is politicians are very specific on what to fund, but they're never specific about what to cut," Hart says. 

All told, the book identifies $18 billion in savings, which Hart says is a good first step towards reigning in federal spending. 

"The way you deal with a trillion deficit is $1 billion at a time," he says.

It's unclear how many of the items highlighted in the Wastebook may be included in a larger deficit reduction package, but cat and dog lovers may push back on at least one of them: Coburn's proposal to end the promotion of specialty shampoos for their pets. 

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