The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

How will Republicans talk their way out of this?

At the beginning of August I expressed my opinion that the Budget Control Act of 2011 was a bad joke that would be forgotten by the end of September.  Little did I know that the authors of the Budget Control Act of 2011 never intended it to be taken at face value. It’s easy to see, once you look at it. Even the Congressional Budget Office doesn’t take it seriously.

In July, 2011, the Republican House passed a $649 billion defense spending bill for FY 2012 , but the August Budget Control Act of 2011 put a spending cap of $684 billion on Defense, Homeland Security, Veteran Affairs, Foreign Assistance and Nuclear Security combined. For Defense to be funded at $649 billion in FY 2012, Homeland Security, Veteran Affairs, Foreign Assistance and Nuclear Security must each be cut by 80% from their FY 2011 funding levels.

This is not going to happen. It was never going to happen. Those who negotiated the Budget Control Act of 2011 and who insisted upon spending limits knew all along that the spending caps for 2012 were phony.  It was a queer bill from its inception, and the Republicans put the country through nine types of hell over the debt ceiling for nothing. Absolutely nothing, except a stupid charade that wouldn’t fool a third grader.

What’s the charade, you ask?

They forgot to include the costs of Afghanistan and Iraq in the spending limits. Republican leadership, so-called, was planning on slipping another $150 billion into the pot by an emergency off-budget war appropriation that nobody would notice.

It is such a lame charade simply because it is impossible to hide a $150 billion Congressional appropriation by pretending it didn’t happen.

Certainly Congressional Democrats will have no qualms about bumping up the spending limit on the Security Category by another $150 billion, but be sure the firebrand deficit hawks on the right will. Republican leadership doesn’t have the guts for significant spending reductions in the Security Category. This gives Congressional Democrats considerable leverage, if they can hold out and not pass any defense spending bills prematurely.

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Written by Tom Fox

09/29/2011 at 10:14 am

Posted in Politics

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