My column from today's Roll Call explains why "ridiculous' and "infuriating" are two of the milder words you might want to use when you think about the latest House GOP plans to abandon the deal it agreed to in August and try to use the fiscal 2013 budget resolution to cut appropriations even more.
In case you're wondering, This and they are not going to come even close to being successful.
Tea Party Budget Plans Don’t Make Political Sense
The big federal budget news from last week was that, pushed by their tea party wing, House Republicans were seriously considering a fiscal 2013 budget resolution that proposed to cut appropriations below the levels agreed to last August in the Budget Control Act.
CG&G alum Bruce Bartlett, whose new book on tax reform -- The Benefit and The Burden -- debuted on the New York Times best seller list last week, forwarded this latest Harris Interactive poll about the budget to me over the weekend.
The money quote tells the same story as virtually every other poll on the budget: cutting "federal spending" is popular until you get to the specific programs. Then, with only a few very small exceptions, it becomes impossible.
My column from this morning's Roll Call explains why the Republican position on not using cuts in the projected spending for military activities in Afghanistan makes them all-star budget hypocrites, and then some.
After reading the column, you may also say it's "par for the course."
Republicans Set Stage to Become All-Time Budget Hypocrites
By Stan Collender
Roll Call Contributing Writer
Feb. 28, 2012, Midnight
Congressional Republicans so far have been adamant that reductions in the projected spending assumed in the federal budget baseline for projected continuing military activities in Afghanistan must not be used to offset the cost of anything.
This quote from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) stands out in an excellent story in yesterday's The Washington Post by Scott Wilson and Greg Jaffe on how the White House worked with the Pentagon on the military spending strategy Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced last week:
“an honest and valid strategy for national defense can’t be founded on the premise that we must do more with less or less with less.”
Yes, I know this is just the chairman of an authorization committee defending his jurisdiction. And, yes, I know that McKeon is from a state that relies heavily on federal military spending.
But "do more with less" and a smaller government supposedly are basic principles of the GOP these days. What is McKeon saying?
I'll have much more to say about this tomorrow when my first Roll Call column for 2012 is published, but I thought it important to start raising a key point about this year's budget debate now: The GOP is going to have to work much harder this year to get the Obama administration to respond to it on the budget.
The reason? There will be very few opportunities for congressional Republicans to force a confrontation with the White House this year on budget issues by holding anything hostage. In fact, other than the extension of the payroll tax cut that will expire at the end of February, there will be no budget-related deadlines Republicans in the House and Senate will be able to to use for leverage with the administration until fiscal 2013 begins on October 1...a month before the election.
That means there are two primary questions for this year as the budget debate gets underway: