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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Is As Little As $4 Billion In Cuts Too Much for Status Quo Senate Democrats?

The New York Times reports today, “House Republicans told Senate Democrats on Wednesday that they would agree to a temporary spending bill to avert a government shutdown next week only if the measure began instituting House-passed cuts on a pro-rated basis. Officials familiar with talks between representatives of House and Senate leaders said the proposal, still being assembled for a possible vote next week, would call for $4 billion in reductions in exchange for an additional two weeks to allow the House and Senate to negotiate a spending plan to finance the government through Sept. 30.”

Yet even $4 billion ($4,000,000,000) in cuts out of more than $3 trillion ($3,000,000,000,000), or .00103, in the budget is apparently still too much for some Democrats. According to the NYT, “Democratic aides said the short-term proposal was likely to be deemed unacceptable since it simply reflected a staggered version of the $61 billion in cuts approved by the House on Saturday in a proposal Senate Democrats already oppose. . . . ‘This bill would simply be a two-week version of the reckless measure the House passed last weekend,’ said Jon Summers, a spokesman for Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader. ‘It isn’t going to fool anyone.’”

The contrast is stark. Senate Democrats are disparaging House Republicans’ proposal to begin to rein in the out-of-control spending of the last two years, yet their own status quo proposal would simply keep government spending at those same unsustainable levels. As the AP notes today, “The move comes a day after Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that Senate Democrats will try to pass a 30-day measure to keep the government frozen at last year's budget levels. [House Speaker John] Boehner flatly rejected the idea and insisted on immediate cuts. ‘Americans understand we need to stop the spending binge in Washington to create a better environment for job creation,’ Boehner said. ‘So I ask Senator Reid, with all due respect: what are you willing to cut?’”

And if Democrats’ answer is “nothing,” we already know from the CBO that doing nothing will result in a $1.5 trillion deficit this year. Meanwhile, CBS News’ Mark Knoller has a report today pointing out just how much debt the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress have piled up in two years. “Just as President Obama signed and sent his annual Economic Report to Congress, the Treasury Department posted numbers that show the national debt has increased $3.5 trillion so far on Mr. Obama's watch. On the day he was inaugurated, the national debt stood at $10.626 trillion. . . . The posting today shows the debt at $14.128 trillion; that's a $3.5 trillion increase in the 25 months Mr. Obama has occupied the White House. Budget numbers released last week show the national debt will top a $5 trillion increase at the start of Mr. Obama's fourth year in office.” Further, Knoller writes, “In fact, the president's budget last week projects the federal deficit will hit an all-time high this year of $1.645 trillion. That exceeds the total of all the debt run up by the U.S. government from its inception through 1984. The budget projects a $1.1 trillion deficit in 2012 and then deficits in the range of $600 billion and $800 billion through the end of the decade.”

And yet Democrats in the Senate are balking at merely $4 billion in cuts.

Tags: Washington, D.C., politics, Democrats, concurrent resolution, spending cutsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 8:01 PM - Post Link

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