Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Already failing to deliver to the base, and making excuses:

Republicans Lower Goal for Cuts to Budget

Many people knowledgeable about the federal budget said House Republicans could not keep their campaign promise to cut $100 billion from domestic spending in a single year. Now it appears that Republicans agree.

As they prepare to take power on Wednesday, Republican leaders are scaling back that number by as much as half, aides say, because the current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, will be nearly half over before spending cuts could become law....

Now aides say that the $100 billion figure was hypothetical....

Yet "A Pledge to America," the manifesto House Republicans published last September, included the promise, "We will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone."

Republican leaders have repeatedly invoked the number. On Tuesday the Web site for Representative John A. Boehner, the incoming House speaker, included a link to his national radio address on the Saturday before the midterm elections, in which he said, "We're ready to cut spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving roughly $100 billion almost immediately."

Representative Paul D. Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who will become chairman of the House Budget Committee, said in December that the goal was to cut "a good $100 billion." ...

Even if they were never going to get cuts of that size past the Senate and the president, now it appears they're not even going to try. And it's not their fault! It's the Democrats' fault!

Because Democrats did not pass appropriations bills last year, the government has been operating since October with appropriations continuing at the previous fiscal year's levels. It will do so until March 4, five months into this fiscal year.

As Hot Air's Allahpundit says,

Never mind the fact ... that having less than a full fiscal year to deliver was entirely foreseeable when they were touting the $100 billion number.

And Allahpundit's worried that his party may crap out on this promise for 2012 as well:

... that bit about $100 billion being "hypothetical" makes me wonder if they're prepared to back away from it next year too. They wouldn't dare do that with tea partiers watching them anxiously. Would they? ...

In fact, according to The Hill, not only can't they find enough cuts to hit the $100 billion target before the fiscal year runs out, they might not even have time before March to put together the 12 different appropriations bills they'd need to make targeted cuts. There are "only" 43 legislative days before then, only 23 of which are scheduled to be spent in session....

Oh, that damn linear time! You know that's a liberal plot!

And I particularly like the argument that Republicans can't cut $100 billion in spending because Democrats didn't raise spending enough in the first place:

On Tuesday, aides to Mr. Ryan and Mr. Boehner blamed Democrats' failure to pass the regular appropriations bills for fiscal year 2011 for forcing Republicans to reduce their goal to perhaps $50 billion to $60 billion....

The current spending levels are lower than Mr. Obama had requested for nonmilitary programs; he proposed a freeze at 2010 levels but with increases for some favored programs. The Republicans’ campaign promise was based on their calculation they could cut $100 billion from Mr. Obama's higher levels.

Hey, you Democrats tricked us! You didn't increase spending so we could decrease it! (You see, if spending had gone up and then gone down, that would be way better than if it never went up in the first place -- because Republicans could get credit!)


Well, we know Republicans are struggling to fulfill their promise because they won't raise anyone's taxes, they won't cut defense or entitlement programs, and they're determined to increase the deficit, and exempt that budget-busting from their own rules:

...they've included measures in their new rules package to exempt some of their biggest legislative priorities from deficit consideration. Among the exceptions, which the House is likely to consider in the 112th Congress, are the health care repeal bill (scheduled for a vote a week from Wednesday), the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, an AMT patch, extending the estate tax, and more.


So, will the public blame them when they fail to tame the deficit/debt beast? I can't tell. Hardcore teabaggers will be appalled, I suppose (can't wait for the "Primary Boehner!" movement), but I'm not sure how many hardcore teabaggers there really are. I think a lot of the right-wing base will accept just about anything if evil Democrats can be blamed.

And, yeah, Obama might try to meet the GOP more than halfway, thus depriving them of the rope they need to hang themselves.

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