October 22, 2015

House Sends Opening Salvo in Budget Fight

This budget fight is Boehner’s last hurrah.

The federal government’s looming budget fight is John Boehner’s last hurrah. This is the last time, hopefully, we’ll see the antics that have played out over the last few years, with government shutdowns and a final acquiescence to Democrat demands. President Obama called on congressional Republicans to simply raise the debt limit with clean legislation by the Nov. 3 deadline. It hasn’t stopped Boehner’s Republicans from making an offer, though. The bill that the House is sending to the Senate would raise the debt limit from $18,100,000,000,000 to $19,600,000,000,000 and calls for a wish list of conservative reforms. Among those considered, Republicans are mulling addenda that would make $3,800,000,000,000 in budget cuts — essentially cutting the daily budget while increasing the amount the U.S. will borrow. It’s a move that makes legislative sense, as the debt limit must be raised to accommodate our appalling debt (rather than risking default), as the cuts start to trim the pork that got us into this situation in the first place. Other addenda would force the administration to make tweaks to the Iran nuclear deal, or even change Senate rules that would bar filibusters on budget legislation. Good luck trying to get senators to vote for that last one.

While it may sound like a good plan, making a high offer that Senate Democrats and the Obama administration may negotiate down, The Daily Signal’s Romina Boccia argued that it’s just more of the same political theater. “Congress needs a real plan to pursue legislative proposals in the budget plan with the seriousness the nation’s fiscal state demands,” Boccia wrote. “Congress should limit the debt limit increase to a much lower amount to allow for only a short-term patch while the relevant congressional committees finally do what they should have done long ago — write the bills to comply with the congressional budget.”

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