Skip to comments.Analysis: GOP Won First Round of Budget Battle (but looking forward to next big battle)
Posted on 04/09/2011 6:08:28 PM PDT by sickoflibs
WASHINGTON -- Republican conservatives were the chief winners in the budget deal that forced Democrats to accept historic spending cuts they strongly opposed.
Emboldened by last fall's election victories, fiscal conservatives have changed the debate in Washington. The question no longer is whether to cut spending, but how deeply. Rarely mentioned is the idea of higher taxes to lower the deficit.
Their success is all the more notable because Democrats control the Senate and White House.
But more difficult decisions lie ahead, and it's not clear whether GOP lawmakers can rely on their winning formula. They pushed Democrats to the brink, then gave in just enough to claim impressive achievements, rather than holding the line and triggering a government shutdown that might have yielded far less politically.
The GOP victories came on spending. Their concessions dealt mainly with social issues, where they tried to limit abortions and restrict environmental rules.
House Republicans who care intensely about such social issues may fight harder next time, giving Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, fewer bargaining chips to appease Democrats. Tea party Republicans, some of whom found the cuts too small in Friday's last-minute agreement, might insist on deeper ones from now on.
Related Stories Federal Shutdown Avoided, 2012 Budget Fight Looms Lawmakers Reach 'Historic' Deal to Avoid Government Shutdown Analysis: Waiting for Change to Come to Washington Two fast-approaching debates could make this past week's showdown look like a preliminary skirmish.
Congress soon must vote to increase the government's borrowing limit to avoid the first-ever default on U.S. loan payments. With the 2011 budget battle still fresh, lawmakers are now focusing on the spending debate for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The House Budget Committee has approved, on a partisan vote, a bill that would cut spending by $5.8 trillion over 10 years and make major cost-saving changes to the Medicare and Medicaid health programs.
These are the big-picture, big-money issues that tea partyers have awaited eagerly. Many have pledged to vote against a higher debt ceiling without major give-backs from Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama. The 2012 spending blueprint written by the House Budget Committee chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is on a collision course with Democrats determined to allow only modest changes, if any, to Medicare, Medicaid and other programs.
"It will be much more difficult, with much higher stakes, with the debt ceiling and the 2012 budget," said Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution, who co-wrote a book on Congress, "The Broken Branch."
"I see little sign the tea party members and their allies will lower their demands or embrace a pragmatic strategy," Mann said. "Boehner will have a hard time duplicating this success, especially if Obama is more forceful in filling the vacuum on the Democratic side of the debate."
Obama's re-election chances will depend partly on his ability to resolve these issues ahead. With some skill and luck, he may emerge either as a pragmatic problem-solver or the man who took reasonable stands against an out-of-the-mainstream GOP that forced a government shutdown or debt default.
In a statement shortly after the budget deal late Friday, Obama said some cuts will be painful and he acknowledged, "I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances."
But the president said the agreement protected "those investments that will help America compete for new jobs," including education, clean energy and medical research.
The budget negotiations are difficult because voters sent contradictory messages last fall.
They want Congress to stop the partisan bickering and solve the nation's big problems, including the deficit. Many voters, especially in elections where Republicans ousted House Democrats, also said they are sick of wishy-washy lawmakers who compromise on major issues.
Anyone who missed their warning had only to look at former Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah. A solid conservative, he nonetheless was denied his party's nomination by GOP activists angry that he cooperated with Democrats on a few issues.
Boehner, a skilled legislator, spent weeks talking with House conservatives who insisted on $61 billion in current-year spending cuts. That was the pro-rated remainder of conservatives' campaign pledge to cut $100 billion in the 2011 budget year, now half over.
Democrats complained bitterly about the first $10 billion in cuts, but eventually said they could not go above $33 billion. The final deal calls for $38.5 billion in cuts.
Boehner and his lieutenants repeatedly told the adamant budget-cutters, some of them new to public office, that they were getting a good deal. A short time ago, he told them, Democrats would not have considered anything approaching $40 billion. Take your victory and get ready for the next fight, he urged them.
The main price? Surrendering, for now at least, Republican efforts to end federal support for Planned Parenthood and to bar the government from regulating greenhouse gases.
Boehner persuaded enough Republicans to go along. Soon the country will see if he can repeat the feat with social conservatives who think it's now their turn to prevail, and with anti-spending advocates who viewed last week as an appetizer for an upcoming feast on federal programs and costs.
Unfortunately we have no historical example of a House of Representatives of one party making both the opposing parties Senate AND WH together cave to large $$$ budget cuts, certainly any larger than this. We do have Newt in 1995 with both houses (Republican) try to use a shutdown to force Clinton to accept budget cuts, but in the end of three weeks of shutdown Newt gave into no cuts and even paid the government workers for their time (three weeks) off. Something like this could be won but it would take overpowering the Presidental speaker that Obama has as well as the MSM and getting him the blame, no small feat.
Boehner did considerably better than Newt did in his 1995 battle, other than that we have no good way of objectively judging him on this.
You need to fight battles to win wars...
This was an encroachment into democrat power....
Because, Babbington you imbecile, your overbearing government cannot confiscate enough income to make a DENT in the deficit. The ignorance of commies like Babbington is why we are going to have a 2nd civil war soon.
Gopers still don't want to try to control the debate and scare the b'hesus out of the 'rat followers. It's ~$400/month the US is borrowing for each citizen. I don't want to take on that debt.
This piece is a laff RIOT!
Well if it makes everyone feel better. Yay! We Won! Yip Yip Yahoo! Boehner is our Hero. The Charging RINOS have trampled those Democrats and Obama Woo Hoo! Huge Slashes and Cuts of Big Government! Thank God for the Republican Fighters!
Correct. This bill has changed the dynamics and that's why liberals hate it. The leftist special interests know that now they no longer have a free pass for higher and higher spending. That's what Boehner has accomplished.
Now the debate is just HOW MUCH to cut and that's a much better debate that WHETHER OR NOT to cut. Good job, Pubs.
Now let's move onto the much bigger Ryan proposals.
Just happen to see no-one posted this as I was checking my computer. My comment is at #1. I see this as a non-event after a huge potential showdown run-up by the MSM and FNC.
So, is that working for you? I can't say it's doing anything for me.
An insignificant drop-in-the-bucket $38b cut that will only cover FOUR DAYS of government spending is being hailed as “historic spending cuts”?!?
We’re so screwed.
The writing is on the wall. They’re going to pass another record-setting hike to the debt ceiling in a couple of weeks, using a few more irrelevant cuts that they’ll trumpet as more phony “budget slashing” as cover.
By next summer, gas, diesel, and home eating oil will be pushing $8/gallon and we won’t be able to afford anything but Ramen and mac & cheese at the grocery store. I wish I thought I was exaggerating.
Yes, it's quite amazing that Boehner was able to do this with an elitist Dem Senate against him when Newt failed with both House and Senate in Repub hands.
Good job, Boehner.
Its all an act by both parties
To the headline: they did?
True, but I think Babbington's point is that this argument isn't even being MADE anymore whereas before it was standard liberal rhetoric.
He's saying that the absence of this argument is another sign that the Repubs have the upper hand.
The Grand Old Pussies didn’t win anything, the once again CAVED. This “budget cut” is nothing but a bad freaking joke. It is tantamount to any of us skipping getting one 60¢ bag of chips out of the vending machine every month.
Do the GOP hacks really believe anyone is buying this propaganda?
“Because, Babbington you imbecile, your overbearing government cannot confiscate enough income to make a DENT in the deficit”
It’s absurd for these idiots to think that raising taxes will solve this. When you are spending 140% of what you bring in, that means you have to raise taxes by 40%. Ain’t gonna happen.
Maybe the libs have this grand idea that we can have tax rates like they have in Sweden but Americans will not accept that level of taxation.
I want to know how after the ‘biggest tax cut in history’ our taxes went up this year. Almost the exact same income as last year but our taxes were over $1k more.
It was this same idiot who had claimed the Tea Party was racist too, I believe!
....of course, the Washington Ruling Class thinks so....well only RINOs......
the Marxists are having a "good ole time" w/ the public checkbook.
Well at least we found out why we are in such a mess. It is both parties.
What if Obama promised that it will go to the children?/
I live in MD and the Democrat governor got elected by promising to not let the power companies charge us market rates for electric, meaning not go higher. Once elected :
1) ran up spending for almost a year
2) called emergency session to raise taxes on us and he did in largest tax increase in MD history
3) Made deals with power companies to raise our electric ABOVE market rates for green energy.
He got easily reelected and gave college tuition subsidies to illegals and is raising our taxes again.
I did my taxes today too.
What, by this action, was done with the Federal budget:
A family with income of $26,000 a year is spending $38,000. (Add eight zeroes to each of those figures and you have the federal budget.)
The so-called man of the house tells his family, We cant go on like this. Our credit cards are near their limit, and soon we wont even be able to pay the interest on them. We need to spend less, so lets cut spending this year by $630 to $37,370
After a few days of conflict at home, he cant bear the pressure. He goes back to his family and sheepishly tells them he will be satisfied if they cut spending by only $390, and that he will accept the family spending $37,610.
Why should we have any confidence Republican leaders will have the courage to address the remaining $11,600 in my example (multiplied by 100 million in the federal budget) when they cant hold out even a weekend over a lousy $240 that won’t even begin to address the problem?
Im thoroughly disgusted with not just them, but my supposedly conservative Congressman that voted them into positions of leadership. Why give majorities to Republicans when the allow Democrats to dictate the agenda and the results on any issue of consequence?
Actually you forgot to ping me on #20 but I just happen to be reading the comments and saw it.
So far this liberal fellow's opinion is not going over well here:)
My thoughts are at #1.
As I said in comment #1 this deal really didn't faze me.
Boehner pushed the abomination TARP in his members for Bush/Paulson and still got the Speaker position in late 2008. It's hard to get worse than that. This was routine stuff.
“historic spending cuts”
If these cuts actually are “historic,” it makes me want to weep.
It's the Asspress, the chief dog faced liars and propagandists for the Democrats. If they tell you the sky is blue, a hurricane is about to hit.
“’Rarely mentioned is the idea of higher taxes to lower the deficit.’
‘Because, Babbington you imbecile, your overbearing government cannot confiscate enough income to make a DENT in the deficit.’”
The ignorance is on two counts, as tax hikes are mentioned quite often, by his fellow ignoramouses.
There’s a particular statistic that’s become popular lately, rightly so. Something about how government revenue averages about 18% of GDP no matter what methods of taxation happen to be popular. Also, that to cover the current spending level, revenues would have to be around 25%, which is obviously totally out of whack.
I realize socialist morons think rich people sleep with trillions stuffed in their mattresses, occassionally to be brought out for to have giant “money fights” with eachother, orgies with unfortunate prostitutes with hearts of gold on top of, or to attach to hooks and cast out of windows to trick the poor with. However, anyone who thinks the economy can stay afloat with one quarter of it passing through the government’s dirty fists is, like I said, a moron.
“Boehner and his lieutenants repeatedly told the adamant budget-cutters, some of them new to public office, that they were getting a good deal”
Sonny, when I was a kid back in 1944, Republicans had to walk uphill both ways to lick Democrats’ boots. We ate gruel morning, noon, and night, and we liked it! You count your blessings. Now, what did I do with my brain medicine? Oh, yes...
Great idea! Pay off part of your teenagers' credit cards. They promised to cut their spending in half, right? BTW they need new cars now....
“Now the debate is just HOW MUCH to cut and that’s a much better debate that WHETHER OR NOT to cut. Good job, Pubs”
It’s as if we’re in a runaway car speeding toward the precipice of a cliff, and the driver and passenger have agreed on the general philosophical principle of preserving human life, which at some point could theoretically possibly, maybe result in stopping the vehicle or bailing out at some point in the future. I’m so glad we don’t want to die, but hey, you know what, we’re going to die!!!
“Yes, it’s quite amazing that Boehner was able to do this with an elitist Dem Senate against him when Newt failed with both House and Senate in Repub hands.”
No it’s not. Unless you’ve been Rip Van Winkling since 2007.
“True, but I think Babbington’s point is that this argument isn’t even being MADE anymore whereas before it was standard liberal rhetoric.”
It is too. I’ve heard it made all the time. Even if it wasn’t the commonest talking point during shutdownmania, it was ubiquitous during the battle in Wisconsin. Libs will use it, ad naseum, when we talk about real cuts.
Laughing is good for you :)
NOT #37, mistake copy.
The taxpayers still get screwed. Some win. The US is BROKE. Idiots.
I posted a couple comments from DU threads yesterday. They were QUITE incensed with Dear Leader and the comments were very colorful. Very entertaining.
If we won how come it feels so bad?
Because we Lost by Winning. That is how it works now. If we lose the MSM says we won and pats us on the back and praises us. Get it?
I remember you doing that. That is why I pinged you, you have a sense of humor :)
thanks, a really weird site.
..never been there before, shall
visit again for more laughs.
"John Boehner just made Barack Obama look like a helpless fool."
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