Do Republicans Want To Cut Spending, Or Just Score Cheap Political Points?
Based on this report on the current negotiations over a final budget deal, it certainly doesn’t seem to me that the House GOP is as interested in cutting spending as they say they are:
Republicans are poised to reject a White House offer, TPM has learned, that would cut over $30 billion in current spending because of disagreements over whether the package should include cuts to mandatory spending programs. Democrats are pushing for such cuts, which include the big entitlement programs, though the specific cuts they’re proposing remain unclear. In an ironic twist, Republicans oppose those cuts and want to limit the negotiations to non-defense discretionary spending, a smaller subset of the federal budget.
Taken together, the last several days’ worth of developments bode very poorly for the goal of reaching a six-month agreement on spending. The parties have until April 8 to reach agreement, and the odds of a government shutdown are higher now than they’ve been since this process began.
Asked about the offer the White House has floated, a top Republican aide says, “This debate has always been about discretionary spending — not autopilot ‘mandatory’ spending or tax hikes.”
If that position doesn’t soften, it’s hard to see how the two parties reach agreement.
I cannot for the life of me understand why the GOP would be opposed to cuts to mandatory programs, since that’s where the meat of the budget problem actually is, and the idea of getting Democrats to agree to those types of cuts to begin with strikes me as a victory for the GOP. It’s possible that this is merely a negotiating position and that the parties will continue talking, but this doesn’t bode well for the process and the probability of a government shutdown seems fairly high at this point.
Nice work, GOP.