WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?…. In April, President Obama and his cabinet identified $100 billion in easy-to-make cuts to the federal budget. His detractors scoffed, calling the cuts a very small drop in a very large bucket.

So, the president encouraged congressional Republicans to give the administration a hand. Obama vowed to take the GOP seriously if lawmakers could identify reasonable budget cuts, targeting wasteful and unnecessary spending.

Republican leaders have apparently finished their homework project, but I don’t think the White House is going to like the results.

Responding to a challenge from President Barack Obama, House GOP leaders are offering up a roster of more than $23 billion in spending cuts over the next five years.

The proposed cuts, which were to be sent to the White House on Thursday, bear little resemblance to the dramatic proposals Republicans unfurled when they took over Congress 14 years ago.

Rather than proposing, for example, the elimination of the Education Department, as they have in the past, Republicans are suggesting killing a program that pays for building sidewalks, bike paths and crossing guards as part of the Safe Routes to Schools program. That would save $183 million a year.

For all the talk about “wasteful government spending” from GOP leaders, I actually thought the Republicans might come up with some half-credible ideas. If they combed through the budget, looking for some common-sense cuts, I figured they were bound to find a few spending measures that would prove hard to defend.

But they want to go after the Safe Routes to Schools program? Really? They think we’re spending too much on making sure children get to school without getting hit by cars?

I’ll concede that I haven’t researched this thoroughly. It’s possible Republicans have evidence to suggest the Safe Routes to Schools program overlaps with some other program, making the $183 million a year redundant. Maybe.

But at face value, $183 million a year on crosswalks and crossing guards seems like money well spent.

Cutting the budget sure is challenging, isn’t it?

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.