Taxes & Spending

Boehner Wins: Historic Spending Cuts and No Government Shutdown

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R.-Ohio) announced at 10:55 p.m. on Friday night that he had finalized a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) and President Obama to cut $38.5 billion, which is the biggest one-time cut in government spending in history.  

“I’m pleased that Sen. Reid and I and the White House have come to an agreement that will in fact cut spending and keep the government open,” said Boehner in front of a row of American flags.  “This has been a lot of discussion and a long fight.  But we fought to keep government spending down because it really will, in fact, help create a better environment for job creators in our country.”

With only 20 minutes left before a government shutdown, the Senate passed the short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) by voice vote.  The CR will keep the government funded until a vote on the final deal next Thursday.

The House then passed the same measure at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, 30 minutes after the midnight deadline.  The House vote was 348 to 70, with 28 Republicans voting against it. White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had prepared for a slightly late CR and would not shut down the government because of the slim time margin.  President Obama must sign the short-term CR for the government shutdown to be averted.

The final agreement will be for $38.5 billion in cuts from current spending over the remaining six months of the current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.  The spending cuts, although historic in size, account for only 2.5% of this year’s projected budget deficit of $1.6 trillion.

Boehner went into the weeks-long negotiations with Reid and Obama at the starting point of the House-passed $61 billion in spending cuts.  Reid never offered an alternative plan for spending cuts.  Obama wanted to freeze the current, bloated spending levels for the next five years.

Remarkably, Boehner ended the budget battle with almost two-thirds of the amount he demanded, while only controlling one-third of the positions in the deal-making.

Many give the Tea Party the credit for the strong House Republican position in the budget negotiations.  “They are having a more profound impact than even their leaders think they are,” said a House GOP aide.

“The Tea Party can take pride for causing a significant change in Washington culture.  The debate is no longer if we’ll cut, it’s how much and how soon.”  

Because the cuts demanded by Boehner will lower the level of bottom-line spending for future years, the impact of the $38.5 billion cut will have a longer-term impact.  The Tea Party members of the Republican caucus say that they came to Washington to shrink the size of government.

“There’s no way Congress could possibly, short of an emergency, go back to business as usual, where you automatically ‘plus up’ every single program every single year,” said the House aide.  “Everything is on the chopping block.”

The final agreement includes six key policy riders for conservatives, which Boehner deemed as “critical” for passage in the Republican House. The policy riders, which are spending limitations for specific programs, are:

1.  ObamaCare repeal vote:  The Senate will be forced to have a vote on the repeal of President Obama’s health care law, known as ObamaCare.  The House passed a repeal of ObamaCare in January.

2.  New tools to repeal ObamaCare:  The deal will require numerous studies to illuminate the true cost and impact of the President’s health care law on Americans.  The studies include determining how individuals and families will see increased premiums as a result of certain ObamaCare mandates, a full audit of all the waivers that the Obama administration has given to corporations, organizations, and unions, a full audit of the comparative effectiveness research funding in ObamaCare, and a report on the number and cost of government contractors hired to implement the law.

3.  IRS:  The deal denies the Obama administration’s request for increased federal funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

4.  Planned Parenthood:  The agreement with Senate Democrats guarantees a Senate debate and vote on legislation that would end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

5.  Bans taxpayer-funded abortions:  The agreement includes a complete ban on federal funding of abortion in the District of Columbia (D.C.), applying the pro-life principles of the Hyde Amendment.

6.  Dodd-Frank audit:  The deal mandates audits of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau bureaucracy created under the the Dodd-Frank law.  The yearly audits by both the private sector and the Government Accountability Office will monitor its impact on the economy and job creation.

When announcing the deal, Boehner said that a short-term “bridge” CR would be necessary to “allow for time for this agreement to be put together in legislative form and brought to the floor of the House and Senate for a vote.” 

The first $2 billion of the $39 billion in spending cuts would come during the bridge CR period from Saturday until the vote on the budget deal on Thursday.

Boehner has said throughout these budget talks that the GOP House would not pass any short-term CRs without spending cuts.  During the five weeks of debate, the House Republicans have forced through $10 billion in spending cuts by insisting on short-term CRs that cut $2 billion per week.  Boehner kept to this promise until, quite literally, the last hour.

Moments after Boehner spoke briefly off-the-cuff, Reid read a joint statement on the Senate floor.  “We have agreed to an historic amount of cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year, as well as a short-term bridge to avoid a shutdown as we get the agreement through both houses and to the President,” said Reid.

Reid also said that he and Boehner had “reached agreement on all of the policy riders.”  Until the announcement, Reid spent all day Friday claiming that the parties had reached an agreement on the budget number at the White House on Thursday night, but the deal was being held up by policy riders on defunding Planned Parenthood and the other conservative policies.

Boehner and other Republicans said on Friday that the closed-door negotiations were about the amount and type of spending cuts, and that the policy riders had already been resolved.

The budget battle was a carry-over from last year when the Democratic Congress did not pass a budget, for the first time since the budget rules were put in place in 1974.  The Democrats punted the final budget until after the midterm elections, and then were unable to pass a spending bill in the lame duck Congress.  Since the beginning of this fiscal year on Oct.1, the government has been funded through a series of short-term CRs, with the final and sixth one passing early Saturday morning.

Obama gave a prepared speech late on Friday night to acknowledge his loss in the budget battle.

“Like any worthwhile compromise, both sides had to make tough decisions and give ground on issues that were important to them, and I certainly did that.  Some of the cuts that we agreed to will be painful,” said Obama.  “And I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances.”

After the final six-month CR is drafted and passed by Congress next Thursday, the Republicans will raise the stakes even higher on cutting government spending.  Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) will have a vote on his Fiscal Year 2012 budget next week, and within a month, the President’s request to raise the debt ceiling will be before Congress.

The CR battle was a victory for fiscal conservatives, and hopefully will empower them to fight even harder for the bigger battles yet to come this year.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) said late Friday night that, “this is an important first step, but just the beginning of what we need to do to get our house, our fiscal house, in order.”

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  • rdman_VietVet

    Here’s what comes after the hapless, establishment RINOs:

    The Exploitive, Opportunist Establishment Democrats

    The darlings of the Washington DC Ruling Elitist Clique and their fawning so-called Main Stream Media (MSM), failure is one of the most humiliating prospects for democrats. When they overextend themselves and cannot make good on their claims, and to protect their status with the DC Ruling Elitist Clique and the MSM, they will resort to exploitation to maintain their self-inflated esteem.

    As democrats see it, exploitation is necessary to continue to project a superior self-image. Ironically, they believe they are superior not only to everyone else, but also to themselves by exceeding the limits of their talents, thus they must take what they need from others to maintain their superiority.

    Their fear of failure makes democrats more than willing to be dishonest to get what they need to maintain at least the illusion of superiority. They are pragmatists and have no principles other than what works for them… the consequences: they lie about their policies, take credit for the work of others, or plagiarize to make themselves seem more outstanding than they are. Democrats are determined not to be losers, no matter who must pay the price for their corruption.

    They are ready to sell out, lie, betray their loyalties and take advantage of others to come out on top. Because they have never developed a conscience, they do not feel guilty about exploiting others. In colloquial terms, democrats are hustlers, people “on the make,” opportunists taking advantage of situations and crisis’… always to the detriment of others. Their lack of affect is also particularly valuable now… they can callously use people without the slightest thought for their welfare… “What’s in it for me? How can I use this for myself?”

    Hapless, insecure republicans, aware of the democrat’s opportunism are usually afraid of confronting them. Democrats count on the fact that others dare not say or do anything about their behavior for fear of retaliation. Their lack of decency makes it difficult for others to defend themselves against democrats because they know that democrats will go lower than they are willing to descend into the gutter.

    Exploiting people reveals the contempt in which democrats hold others. Because they do not see other people as real or as having value without reference to themselves, using people is not a moral problem for them… because they have no morals. Others are merely providers of attention and admiration, as objects to be used to aggrandize themselves. This is why there is absolutely nothing reciprocal about a relationship with democrats. They will keep a relationship going as long as they get what they want, but will drop the “useful idiots” under the bus without a second thought, particularly if someone more desirable comes along.

    Yet why are citizen voters so often taken advantage of by democrats? The answer lies in the strength of the narcissistic desires democrats awaken in some citizen voters. Voters unwittingly give democrats power over them to the degree that they lack true self-esteem themselves. They mistakenly think that democrats will somehow endow them with what appears to be their limitless self-esteem. This never happens… the sad fact is that democrats would have no power over others if people did not give it to them.

    Unfortunately for hapless, anxious, insecure republicans, democrats remain highly functional. Democrats do not become depressed, anxious, emotionally conflicted, incapacitated, or self-destructive. On the contrary, they depress others, make others feel anxious and conflicted, incapacitate others, and drive others to self-destructive acts. It is always others who suffer. Democrats are able to walk away from relationships as if nothing has happened, and as far as they are concerned, nothing has.

    Like sharks, they are extraordinarily well adapted to their environment. And like sharks, they injure and kill cold-bloodedly, and keep moving.

  • rdman_VietVet

    I agree with Hominid… you’re a MORON…

  • Thomas

    No, there are no pro-life, small or even good-government democrats left; I am saying that there are also few Republicans who really live up to that standard and if you had read the post you would have seen the part where I proposed we deal with it in the primaries.

    We need to get rid of the weak links in our chain, especially the “judas steers” , those that like the steers the cowboys used on the trail drives lead the whole herd to slaughter, and that the cowboys brought back year after year to lead a new herd, those folks have got to be dealt with in the primary.

    Another analogy, imagine soldiers drawn up in a battle line and 97% of the troops are holding the line and fighting and dying for the cause, but 3% are either retreating or making secret deals with the enemies and letting them break through the line, or worse yet are pouring “friendly fire” on those who are holding the line, men that they hate because they make them feel inferior (because they are inferior).

    Another problem is that if we keep these folks around it prevents us from offering the American people a real choice, something they can get behind.