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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Budget Nonsense & Hyperbole

As of 9:35 AM CST today, we still have no budget deal and are heading toward a government shutdown tomorrow night.  In an effort to head off a shutdown, the Republican house has proposed another Continuing Resolution similar to what has been done to keep the government funded up to this point.  This stop-gap bill also includes a measure that will fully fund the military for the rest of the year.  This would prevent any potential shutdown from affecting our soldier's pay or harming our military actions around the world.

For Senate majority leader, Harry Reid  (D-NV), every moment not spent sleeping or in negotiations is being used to make the most strangely ironic claims.  In a speech on the Senate floor yesterday, Reid said,
Now we learn that House Republicans are going to make another excuse, create another diversion, and avoid another tough choice. Instead of solving the crisis the way we should, instead of saying yes, they say in fact what they are going to do is pass what they will call another short-term stop-gap measure. They will say it is short term, but what that really means is it’s a shortcut, a short cut around doing our jobs. Instead of solving problems, they are stalling; they are procrastinating. That’s not just bad policy, it’s a fantasy. We all heard the president of the United States say yesterday that he won’t accept anything short of a full solution, and why should he? We’re six months into the fiscal year now.
Perhaps it should be brought to Sen. Reid's attention that his party controlled the House, Senate & Presidency last year when they chose to avoid solving problems, they stalled and they procrastinated. 

The only reason we are six months into the fiscal year without a budget is because the Congressional Democrats failed to pass a budget last year when they had the opportunity.  Instead they passed the first CR when the Senate's Omnibus spending bill was deemed so awful that it was never brought up for a vote (talk about a fantasy).  Now that Democrats no longer control the house, he wishes to advocates compromise.
Now it looks like they are also afraid of making the tough choices we have to make, but tough choices are what governing is all about. They are what leadership’s all about. It’s time for my friends in the House of Representatives to stop campaigning and start governing and remember what one of the greatest speakers of all time said — in fact, he was speaker three times — he was from the state of Kentucky, Henry Clay. He was known as the great compromiser, and he said that all legislation is based on mutual consensus. That’s what this is all about. But remember, let’s focus on the word mutual. It takes both of us. Mr. President, it’s time to lead.
Where was this leadership last year when Reid pulled the $1.2 trillion pork-laden omnibus spending bill.  As Politico reported at the time, "Democrats have only themselves to blame for failing to pass any of the 12 annual appropriations bills that fund the day-to-day operations of the government."

Passing the House's CR will avoid a shut down, fund the military for the rest of the year and cut an additional $12 billion from the budget.  Previous CR's had cut about $10 billion already, so passing this would make a total cut of $22 billion so far - still well short of the Republican goal of $61 billion in spending cuts.  It avoids certain cuts that Reid considered deal breakers such as an elimination of funding for Planned Parenthood.

If Reid doesn't want to pass another CR, then he needs to be willing to negotiate on a full year bill.  From a $3.5 trillion budget, it cannot be too hard to find $40 - $60 billion (less than 2%) in order to cut a budget deficit that Obama tripled in his very first year.

Everyone in America, well, everyone who has any real understanding and common sense knows that we need to make spending cuts.  There is no choice about that.  The only choice is what to cut.  Senator Reid and many other Democrats have decided that they do not want to play a part in making these tough choices, so they rail against the Republicans who are doing just that.

One party is trying to solve problems; the other is busy making accusations that would be more appropriate if aimed at themselves.
  • Reid rails at the GOP for not compromising on a budget & seeking a CR, which is exactly what he did last year when a budget should have been passed.
  • New DNC head, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz says that Paul Ryan's 2012 budget proposal would "be devastating for seniors and older Americans. This Republican path to poverty passes like a tornado through America’s nursing homes".  Of course, we all remember that the Democrats cut a half a trillion dollars from Medicare last year as part of Obamacare, whereas Ryan's plan would not affect anyone who is 55 years or older at present, including all current retirees.
  • The budget deficit since Democrats took over Congress in 2006 went from $182 billion to $1.65 trillion - a 900% gain in five years.  Yet when the Republicans want to cut $61 billion of that increase, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) instructs his Senate colleagues to tell the press that the GOP refuses to negotiate and that their demands are extreme.  As he told them, "I always use extreme. That is what the caucus instructed me to use."
  • The Hill notes that "Forty-one senators have pledged to filibuster any bipartisan spending bill that includes an amendment to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood, threatening an impasse with House conservatives" which means that while Republicans are able to negotiate cuts to the defense budget, Democrats are unwilling to negotiate in anyway over funding for an abortion provider.
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) claims the Republican budget would starve six million seniors, but is unwilling to negotiate on abortion provider funding and would rather see the government shutdown than negotiate on reasonable spending cuts.
  • Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-IL) pointed out that the GOP would cut the International Disaster Aid fund from $640 million to $430 million.  USAID chief claimed that 70,000 children would die from spending cuts.  If these funds are so important, why not offer to use some of Planned Parenthood's $363 million in funding.  Move that funding and we can save those 70,000 children plus maybe some of the 350,000 children expected to be aborted at Planned Parenthood facilities this year.
It's time for a serious discussion of our spending priorities.  But how do we have a serious discussion with this type of childish finger pointing from Democrats?  Rather than discuss what they would prefer to cut, they have made it clear they don't want to cut any of their pet causes - it's all untouchable. 

Even as our national deficit spirals out of control, they continue to keep their head effectively buried in the sand.  Then they have the audacity to claim that Republicans are not making the tough choices, while they refuse to make any choices.

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