Republicans Try to Force Even More Budget Cuts
The government will shut down in 20 days – just nine congressional work days — unless Congress passes a bill to keep funding it. And while most of the media focus has been on the GOP’s unceasing effort to defund, delay, and undermine Obamacare, Speaker Boehner (R-OH) is plotting another, more hidden plan to lock in damaging and unnecessary austerity for the rest of the year and possibly into 2014.
Boehner has promised that to avoid a government shutdown, he will ask the House to pass a “clean” short-term budget resolution, simply extending current spending levels while a longer-term deal is worked out. That may sound reasonable, but hidden behind Boehner’s deceptive claims are some pretty dirty truths.
First of all, current spending levels are already painfully and unnecessarily low, but Boehner’s plan would go even further and lock in another round of deep cuts to domestic spending.
But it doesn’t stop there. Boehner’s plan actually increases defense spending by $20 BILLION compared to the sequester, while leaving spending on non-defense discretionary programs at unacceptably low levels.
You don’t have to take our word for it. Here’s Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) crowing about the cuts they are trying to force on Democrats and the president:
“In signing a CR at sequester levels,” Cantor wrote, “the president would be endorsing a level of spending that wipes away all the increases he and congressional Democrats made while they were in charge and returns us to a pre-2008 level of discretionary spending.”
Wait, there’s more! On top of all of this, House Republican leaders have devised a convoluted scheme to try and trick rank-and-file Republicans into not shutting down the government over Obamacare while still being able to somehow claim they defunded the law. This “smoke and mirrors” plan is already being derided by the Tea Party and recent polling found that just 6 percent of voters think delaying and defunding Obamacare is the right path forward.
(This final scheme comes on top of a separate GOP demand issued today that Democrats either agree to delay Obamacare for a year or Republicans will refuse to increase the debt ceiling, thus creating a world economic calamity.)
BOTTOM LINE: Republicans have scheduled just 9 days of work in September and aren’t even planning on being here the week before funding for the government runs out. Passing a partisan spending plan with only GOP votes is just another waste of time that makes it more likely that the government will shut down because of GOP intransigence, demands for damaging austerity, or both.
For a detailed brief from the Center for American Progress on how all of this adds up — or doesn’t — click HERE.