No End to Congressional Hysteria on the Left

House Speaker John Boehner wants Democrats in the Senate to cut off their right arms and play dodge ball on the steps of the Capitol using grenades.

You’d think that was the case with all the crazy talk coming from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and many in his caucus over the GOP’s proposal for modest cuts in government spending.

In order to prevent most government services from shutting down starting this weekend, Republicans in the House passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would fund the government through September and also strip $61 billion dollars from bureaucrats’ hands.

We wish that number were higher, and for good reason.  Federal spending will reach 3.8 trillion this year, with deficits topping 1.6 trillion.  Just the interest on our debt alone breaches the $200 billion mark.

In other words, the proposed cuts by House Republicans amount to less than one-third of the money needed to pay back U.S. bondholders just this year.

But we have to start somewhere.  A cut is a cut, so at least we’re moving in the right direction.

And still, the Left lashes out at the reduction plan, calling the cuts “draconian” and “extreme.”

Apparently this nation running a debt so high that our interest payments are larger than the economy of some African countries is not “draconian” or “extreme.”  Go figure.

That’s where we’ve been the last two weeks:  Democrats balking at the idea of mild spending cuts. 

But just when we thought that the Left’s hysteria couldn’t get any more, well, hysterical—it has.

The Republicans offered a two-week CR that is expected to move through House for passage this afternoon. With this temporary stopgap, not only is a government shutdown avoided, but $4 billion in spending is also lopped off, which, if you’re doing the math, is the protracted amount of $61 billion over a seven-month period.

We’re talking about $4 billion here.  That’s it. Any guess to how Messrs. Harry Reid and Dick Durbin reacted?

That’s right boys and girls: more hysteria.

“Less than a week after passing a job-killing Continuing Resolution, House Republicans are doubling down, proposing a ‘compromise’ spending plan that takes their irresponsible cuts even further,” carped Durbin, a senator from Illinois.

A Reid spokesman groused, “The Republicans’ so-called compromise is nothing more than the same extreme package the House already handed the Senate, just with a different bow.”

And that, my friends, is how serious Democrats are about reducing the scope of Uncle Sam’s bloated reach.  They’ll even recoil at the suggestion to curb $4 billion from government’s grubby fingers. 

To Reid and company, reducing spending by a skimpy $4 billion is an unwarranted encroachment on their power as benevolent government agents who know what’s better for our lives more than we do.  Or so we’re told …

But back to the cuts.  What programs has the House put on the chopping block in the anticipated two-week Continuing Resolution?  Many, actually.

-$29 million to fund Broadband Direct Loan Subsidy via the U.S. Department of Agriculture

-$30 million going to the Smithsonian Institution Legacy Fund

-$75 million in Election Assistance Grants

-$88 million through the Education Department for Smaller Learning Communities

-$292 million for energy efficiency and renewable energy

And those are just a handful of the programs getting axed.

Republicans cleverly assembled the list of targets from the cuts that President Obama himself proposed, which means that Reid will have trouble blocking this temporary CR, despite his frenzied objections. Some of his Democrats are on record saying that the present CR works for them.  But the mere fact that his gut reaction to oppose such small cuts goes to show you how two-faced his party is about curtailing Congress’s uncontrollable spending practices.

In case you’re curious, the GOP offered the temporary CR to contradict the media narrative that they were aiming at a “government shutdown.”  A shutdown was never on the table for them.  By offering a temporary stopgap that implements cuts even Obama favors, Republicans will be in a stronger position to continue with their original spending reduction plan.  They’ve played ball.  Now the Democrats must step up to the plate. That’s the GOP thinking anyway.

But don’t look for conservatives in the House to go along with a repeated number of two-week Continuing Resolutions.  Senior GOP aides tell HUMAN EVENTS that this was a one-time deal to show a good faith effort on behalf of Republicans, but that they will draw a line in the sand at anything less than the original $61 billion in cuts for this year.

Stay tuned.  This drama isn’t ending anytime soon.

Update: Well, well – looks like Reid capitulated and doesn’t think $4 billion in spending cuts is beyond the pale after all. I know – it’s so absurd for Reid to have even thought that about the reductions in the first place.  I’m sure he’ll really get testy when the GOP demands another round of billion-dollar cuts. Then he’ll take out the boxing gloves…