Why this is not surprising? Why there is only handful of Republicans screaming foul? Finally why is it that Democrats can and will get away with bankrupting America?
Reset Your Shutdown Clocks
By Chris Stirewalt
Published April 12, 2011
Squeeze Play on Spending Plan
“Only in Washington can a budget that spends more than it did the year before, with a larger deficit, be portrayed as ‘cutting.’”
— Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., in a letter to colleagues about why he is voting against a fiscal compromise package
House Republicans didn’t produce a compromise spending package to fund the government for the remaining 25 weeks of the fiscal year until 2 a.m. today.
That means that under transparency rules, the soonest that the House can have a vote on the plan is Thursday, the same day that the current stopgap measure, passed Friday night in service of the larger deal, expires.
The margins for error are shrinking.
There were no major surprises in the spending package, except for the end of a backup engine for the F-35 fighter. The $3 billion engine, produced at a plant adjacent to House Speaker John Boehner’s district, was considered protected from on high, despite opposition from Defense Secretary Robert Gates. By goring his own ox, Boehner will enhance his clout in seeking concessions from others.
But laid out in black and white, the details of the plan may cause some conservatives in the House to blanche. Policy specific cuts will be galling to some on the right – for example, Republicans got only half of their desired $3 billion cut to the Environmental Protection Agency aimed at preventing the enforcement of new global warming regulations.
The legislation does have lots to soften the blow. For example, the law would eliminate four White House czars and czarinas – health care, automobile, global warming, and urban affairs – and prevent federal funding for abortions in the District of Columbia.
House Republicans seem to be in accord that the legislation represents the best deal that Boehner can get – another $28 billion in cuts beyond the $12 billion already obtained in earlier rounds of continuing resolutions. But for many of the fiscal hawks, the appeal of bucking the leadership on the spending plan will be irresistible.
The GOP holds a 24-seat majority in the House. The speaker lost 28 members in the vote Friday night to keep the government open, and will likely lose more on the final vote Thursday. But, there are at least 15 fiscally conservative Democrats who can be counted on to come along. That puts the safety zone at 39 Republican renegades. Any more, and it starts to get a bit dicey.
But it’s in the Senate where things really get interesting.
While Senate Majority leader Harry Reid may be able to count on most of the moderate members of his caucus (five or six members) to do the deal, liberals are unlikely to play along in order to help him save face on the deal. And the Republican caucus is no sure thing.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, are certain “no” votes, and one would expect South Carolina’s Jim DeMint to join his Tea Party caucus colleagues in voting no. Then there are other fiscally focused freshmen like Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., Sen. Jon Boozman, R-Ark., and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who might get cold feet about the deal.
And even if Reid can round up the 60 votes he needs to advance the bill, Paul, Lee or any other senator can bog down the process with an old-timey filibuster and hold the floor to delay a vote. Because the House has put the process so close to the deadline, the door is open for some high-stakes theatrics in the Senate on Thursday night.
One more complication: President Obama on Wednesday will outline his long-term debt reduction plan (more on this below) and the House is set to vote on its 2012 budget, which outlines major debt trims, but not at the depth that the hawkiest hawks want to see. This is complicating because it removes the possibility of promising future cuts in exchange for present practicality.
The deal is still heading for passage, but the last leg of the trip is going to be bumpy.
- Sen. Rand Paul: “I will vote a resounding NO this week to this so-called deal” (riehlworldview.com)
- “Congress, White House reach budget deal, avert shut-down” and related posts (reidreport.com)
- Party Leaders Look to Center for Budget Support (foxnews.com)
- Government shutdown avoided in last-minute deal (cbsnews.com)
- Rand Paul’s resolution opposing Obama’s use of force in Libya gets GOP support (riehlworldview.com)
- Who won the budget fight? (hotair.com)
- Obama Issues Veto Threat As Government Shutdown Looms (huffingtonpost.com)
- Reid: GOP Culture Wars Will Shut Down The Government (huffingtonpost.com)
- Behind the Scenes: Angry Meetings, Several Near Deals (online.wsj.com)
- Debt Jumped $54 Billion in 8 Days Leading Up to the ‘Historic’ Obama-Boehner Budget Deal That Cut $38 Billion (directorblue.blogspot.com)