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December 09, 2013

Report: Paul Ryan Ready To Cut A Budget Deal That Breaks The Sequester

Surely you're not surprised that the GOP really isn't committed to cutting spending are your? If so, I've got a bridge to sell you so leave your email address in the comments.

With lawmakers due back in town Tuesday, aides said [House Budget Committee Chairman Paul] Ryan and [Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman] Murray are likely to bypass the committee and take the deal, if finalized, straight to the full House and Senate. Congressional leaders hope to finish work quickly and leave town for the holidays as soon as Friday.

Senior aides familiar with the talks say the emerging agreement aims to partially repeal the sequester and raise agency spending to roughly $1.015 trillion in fiscal 2014 and 2015. That would bring agency budgets up to the target already in place for fiscal 2016. To cover the cost, Ryan and Murray are haggling over roughly $65 billion in alternative policies, including cuts to federal worker pensions and higher security fees for the nation’s airline passengers.

Republican leaders are also seeking additional savings to knock a small dent in deficits projected to exceed $6 trillion over the next decade. But the deal would do nothing to trim the debt, which is now larger, as a percentage of the economy, than at any point in U.S. history except during World War II.

It became clear months ago when the House only passed appropriation bills that increased spending and not the ones that actually cut spending that the fix was in.

And don't buy the nonsense about fees (aka "taxes") or higher pension contributions offsetting some of the spending. First, like almost all stopgap gimmicks they are...gimmicks. Second, in the case of higher pension contributions, that should happen even with the sequester in place to reduce costs, not to offset new ones.

The biggest problem with the "off-set" flimflam is that even if it helps offset hiking the budget and the debt, it does nothing to shrink the size and scope of government. I've said it before and I still mean it, I'd rather a federal budget that takes up 17-18% of GDP and was out of balanced than a budget that consumes 24% and is balanced. Size and scope of government matter more than perfectly balancing the books.

Oh and when Team GOP types say, "well, we told you this would happen because you pushed the shutdown" ask them what in the world prevented the House from passing a "clean CR" that kept the sequester intact? If they answer anything other than "Um, nothing", they are lying.

Keep this betrayal in mind (and it will be a betrayal because you can bet Boehner's going to need Democrats to make this work) when Team GOP says "stop primarying Republicans and focus on Democrats!".

Until Republicans stop kicking conservatives in the shins, I'm all for conservatives kicking Republicans in the balls.

But hey, cheer up! Sure the GOP is going to sell you out on spending but they'll give you amnesty later in the year as a makeup present.

Feel better?

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posted by DrewM. at 10:27 AM

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