Strike One? Republicans Back Off Pledge To Cut Budget
Less than twenty-four hours before the 112th Congress is set to convene, House Republicans are already backing off their pledge to cut $100 Billion from the Federal Budget:
As they prepare to take power on Wednesday, Republican leaders are scaling back that number by as much as half, aides say, because the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, will be nearly half over before spending cuts could become law.
While House Republicans never were expected to succeed in enacting cuts of that scale given opposition in the Senate, from the Democratic majority and some Republicans, and from President Obama, a House vote would put potentially vulnerable Republican lawmakers on record supporting deep reductions of up to 30 percent in education, research, law enforcement, transportation and more.
Now aides say the $100 billion figure was hypothetical, that the objective is to get annual spending for programs other than those for the military, veterans and homeland security back to the levels of 2008, before Democrats approved stimulus spending to end the recession.
Yet "A Pledge to America," the manifesto House Republicans published last September to tell voters what they would do if won a majority, 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 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 Republican who will become chairman of the House Budget Committee, said in December the goal was to cut "a good $100 billion." At issue is so-called discretionary domestic spending, which is about one-sixth of the federal budget and does not include the more costly and fast-growing entitlement programs like Medicare.
Republicans are apparently blaming this on the fact that the 111th Congress never got around to passing a final budget and the fact that Fiscal Year 2011 is already three months old, but shouldn’t they have thought about those things before making the promise in the first place, and then repeating it numerous times both before and after the election?
This is not an auspicious beginning guys.