Republicans in six House of Representatives committees next week will dust off their past proposals for reducing the deficit as they try to replace some of the automatic spending cuts set to take place in January.
Under a directive in the House-passed budget plan from Congressman Paul Ryan, the panels have just two weeks to come up with $18.45 billion in savings for fiscal 2013 and a net $261 billion over 10 years.
Expected targets for cuts include food stamps, farm subsidies and crop insurance, federal employee pensions and health care. A repeal of President Barack Obama's health reform law would prevent new coverage expenses from occurring from 2014.
The proposed cuts, like the Ryan budget that prescribes them, have little chance of passage in the Democratic-controlled Senate. But they will live on as campaign talking-points for both parties as November elections approach.
They also could complicate the annual passage of spending bills needed to keep the government running - raising the risk of a shutdown just weeks before the election.
Republicans believe that by making concrete proposals now, they will have an advantage in post-election negotiations over alternatives to some $98 billion in across-the-board spending cuts scheduled for January. The cuts were part of last year's deal to end Congress' debt limit standoff.
"It certainly puts their marker out on where they think the policy should be going," said Dan Holler, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington. "They're trying to set the tone, show the American people that they're serious and really be prepared, come 2013, to make the necessary choices."
Importantly, Republicans want to shield military and security spending from these cuts by shifting them to domestic programs. And fiscal conservatives want to demonstrate to voters even deeper spending cuts.
Senior Republican aides expressed confidence that the $18.45 billion in cuts can be identified and passed by April 27 from the House Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform and Ways and Means committees. Congress returns from a two-week break on Monday.
"House Republicans have offered a credible plan to protect our national security. Now it is time for the Democrats who run Washington to do the same," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.
The House Agriculture Committee has been told to make the biggest contribution - $8.2 billion for fiscal 2013 and $33.2 billion over 10 years. The Ryan budget documents suggested that $30 billion of this could come from farm subsidies and federal crop insurance programs - steps that would be deeply unpopular in farm states.