Get Prepared for Hand-to-Hand Budget Warfare
By Stan Collender
Roll Call Contributing Writer
Aug. 2, 2011, Midnight
By the time you read this, one of two things will have happened: Either the shouting about the debt ceiling will have turned into complete silence because the deal was enacted, or it will have grown into the decibel equivalent of a multiengine military jet going full-throttle during a rock concert because the deal was voted down (or postponed).
Regardless of whether the agreement announced Sunday is a done deal or just the latest failed political courtship that ultimately is replaced by something else, it’s absolutely certain Congress and the president, the House and Senate, and Democrats and Republicans will all be fighting constantly over the budget during the next 18 months
Think the federal budget can be cut without actually affecting what the government does? As my column from this morning's Roll Call explains, tell that to all those who have been working on the space shuttle.
News Flash: Budget Cuts Have Consequences
We interrupt the steady barrage of news and analysis on the latest developments in the federal debt ceiling debate to bring you a what-shouldn’t-be-but-clearly-is-breaking-news story: Cuts in spending do, in fact, mean the government does less.
Depending on your age, you’re probably now saying something like “shocking,” “duh” or “get out.” The truth, however, is that most people don’t seem to think that this is the case.
Take, for example, last week’s launch of the final space shuttle mission.
In case you haven't heard, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor this morning withdrew from the budget negotiations being led by Vice President Joe Biden.
If you were surprised by this, you haven't been reading CG&G. As I posted yesterday, all of the happy talk that has been coming from the budget talks should have been taken with a healthy dose of skepticism instead of the optimism that has been reported.
But it's also not surprising because Cantor doesn't represent a wing of the House Republicans that was ever going to vote for a deal on the debt ceiling. That's why, while done in an overly dramatic way, his departure from the talks isn't that meaningful. The question is whether Boehner has now been further forced into a corner and, as he did immediately after the Cantor story broke, has to appear to be holier than thou with the tea party.
In spite of yesterday's debate in the House when 59 GOP representatives voted against the deal he cut with the Obama administration and Senate on the continuing resolution for the rest of fiscal 2011, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will likely still be able to count on the support of a substantial majority of the Republican caucus on most issues.
But with the tea party wing abandoning him in droves, Boehner cannot count on that same type of influence on anything having to do with the federal budget. Unfortunately for Boehner, the biggest issues and votes the rest of this year will all be budget-related.