Archive for the ‘Congressional Republicans’ Category
Andrew Stiles of National Review gives it more kudos than it deserves. The fact that Obama’s now taking credit for it suggests we could have done better.
ANDREW STILES-NATIONAL REVIEW: President Obama’s 2011 budget called for a spending increase of $40 billion. Tonight, he touted a bipartisan agreement on “the largest annual spending cut in our history” — some $38.5 billion [emphasis added]. All told, he got $78.5 billion less than he originally requested.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) didn’t want to cut anything at first. But bowing to political reality, eventually ponied up about $4.7 billion in cuts. He ended up with $33.8 billion less spending than he wanted. And he called it an “historic” accomplishment. (Not surprisingly, the left is appalled).
House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), on the other hand, initially proposed $32 billion in spending cuts. House Republicans, led by an undaunted freshman class, bumped that number up to $61 billion ($100 billion off the president’s budget), before settling on $38.5 billion. That’s $6.5 billion more than Boehner asked for to begin with, and $5.5 billion more than the $33 billion that Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats claimed had been agreed to less than two weeks ago. It remains to be seen how much of that will be cuts to discretionary spending, but all told it would appear that we’’ll see a substantial reduction in baseline spending that will yield hundreds of billions in savings over the next decade.
Andrew McCarthy is Unimpressed. Calls it ‘Not Serious.’
ANDREW MCCARTHY: With due respect, I think those who are praising the budget deal are deluding themselves. Under circumstances where we are trillions of dollars in debt, the GOP just caved on its promise to cut the relative pittance of $61 billion in spending because it’s just not worth fighting for more than the half-pittance of $40 billion Democrats claimed was their drop-dead number. “Drop dead” meant daring Republicans to shut the government down (which, as we know, doesn’t actually shut the government down). The Republicans blinked.
For me, this is no surprise — as I’ve said several times (see, e.g., here and here), I don’t think they’re serious. But I want to make a point about how strange this praise of Boehner & Co. is. A mere four months ago, the big controversy in conservative and Republican circles was whether the GOP had reneged on their vaunted pledge to cut $100B in spending in the current fiscal year because they had seemingly come down to $61B. As I noted at the time, there was no question that, if you looked at the fine print of the pledge, the commitment was $61B — but that if you looked at reality, both $61B and $100B were laughably unserious. No matter. Folks around here pooh-poohed my criticism and insisted that a $61B pledge was a sober first step, showing real fortitude about getting our fiscal house in order.
RASMUSSEN POLL: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 33% of Likely U.S. Voters would rather have Congress avoid a government shutdown by authorizing spending at the same levels as last year. Fifty-eight percent (58%) says it’s better to have a partial shutdown until Democrats and Republicans can agree on what spending to cut. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
The partisan differences are striking. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Democrats prefer avoiding a shutdown by going with current spending levels. But 80% of Republicans — and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party — think a shutdown is a better option until the two sides can agree on spending cuts.
POLITICO: The House just approved Rep. Mike Pence’s amendment to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, checking off a hot-button social issue even as it set up a bigger showdown over defunding the health care law.
The vote was 240-185 with 11 Democrats voting for the amendment, and seven Republicans voting against. One member voted present. A group of Republicans on the floor applauded when the vote hit 218.
Pelosi says government shutdown likely.
USA TODAY: The GOP-led House voted today to block funding to implement the nation’s health care law.
The action came on several amendments to a must-pass spending bill that would pay for government operations from March through September.
Specifically, the House voted to prohibit any funds be used by the Internal Revenue Service to carry out the law’s mandate that Americans buy health insurance. The individual mandate, one of the law’s key tenets, has been struck down by federal courts.
The House also adopted an amendment by Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., to bar the Labor and Health and Human Services Departments from spending any money for the rest of fiscal year 2011 on the health care law. Still another provision adopted today would ban the government from paying the salaries of any federal employee involved in implementing the health care law.
RICH LOWRY: We’re hearing that the Republican Study Committee and GOP freshmen were almost in open revolt at the Republican conference this morning over the initial round of cuts set out by Paul Ryan. The Ryan ceiling falls shorts of the headline number of $100 billion set out in the Pledge, and is therefore considered vastly insufficient. Says a source familiar with the meeting, “It sent a clear unequivocal message to leadership — ‘Houston, you’ve got a problem.’” The leadership assured conservatives at a RSC lunch later in the day that the message had been received. Says a GOP leadership aide, “The bill that passes the House will cut substantially more.”
Some members were upset that they didn’t get a chance to talk at the conference meeting. At times, the meeting was quite heated. The source familiar with the meeting says, “They’re putting a lot of emotion out on the table early,” and adds that freshman said the cuts were peanuts and their constituents don’t think even $100 billion is enough.
REUTERS: The House of Representatives will vote to block funding for President Barack Obama’ssignature healthcare overhaul when it takes up a budget plan it will consider next week, House Republican Leader Eric Cantor said on Tuesday.
“I expect to see one way or other the product coming out of the House to speak to that and to preclude any funding to be used for that,” Cantor said at a news conference, referring to an effort to block implementation of the health-care law.
POLITICO: The new Republican-controlled House plans to schedule a vote to repeal the sweeping health care overhaul before President Barack Obama delivers his annual State of the Union address late this month, incoming House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said Sunday.
“We have 242 Republicans,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” He added, “There will be a significant number of Democrats, I think, that will join us. You will remember when that vote passed in the House last March, it only passed by seven votes.”
Liberal TMZ is upset about this, of course. But it’s good to know GOP leaders in Congress have a plan.
TMZ: In the nearly two months since the November midterms, the conventional wisdom has centered on the idea that President Obama’s agenda will be largely protected from an influx of Republicans by the Senate’s arcane rules and his own veto pen. With 47 members in the 112th Congress, the GOP will lack a majority, let alone a supermajority, to pass the legislation they’d need to pass to undo Obama’s accomplishments and blunt his progress — as if he’d sign those bills anyway.
But Republicans are all too aware of this conundrum, and have been looking for ways around it. What they found is an obscure authority provided by a 1996 law called the Congressional Review Act. It provides Congress with an expedited process by which to evaluate executive branch regulations, and then give the President a chance to agree or disagree.