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March 19, 2015

GOP: The Gang That Can't Budget

I know you're tired of reading "GOP sucks" posts. Believe it or not, I'm getting tired of writing them. But this is a political news blog and the GOP is the party that controls both houses of Congress (theoretically). So when they can't get their act together (which is all the time)t on something as fundamental as a Budget Resolution, it's news.

As veteran Capital Hill reporter Steve Dennis put it, "This is, like, never-ever-ever supposed to happen."

A marathon markup of House Republicans’ proposed 2016 federal budget ended after midnight Wednesday with no resolution between the two GOP factions — defense hawks on one side, fiscal conservatives on the other — determined to put their own, seemingly incompatible stamps on the largely symbolic spending plan.

Members and aides weren’t immediately sure early Thursday if or when the House Budget panel would reconvene to try again to move the budget out of committee and onto the floor.

The chaos signaled a minor vote-counting crisis had escalated into another full-scale meltdown between GOP leaders and fiscal conservatives.

At issue is whether or how to add money to the defense budget without going over the Budget Control Act (sequester) caps.

The gimmick they were trying to push through was adding money to the Overseas Contingency Operations fund which is where they account for the money for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other war on terror activities. This is "off-budget" for the purpose of counting against sequester. Basically it would become a DoD slush fund since the money would be used for normal activities like procurement, maintenance and other routine activities.

Budget hawks are calling BS on this and rightfully so. Just because you spend money and put it on a different spreadsheet doesn't mean you aren't spending and borrowing it. If defense hawks get away with this, why not create other off book accounts for things like highway, education and other discretionary spending? The GOP could then spend all they want and still say, "Look at us! We're staying under the caps and cutting spending!"

And remember, the seuqester caps (which Boehner already busted back in December of 2013 in exchange for fake spending cuts) were supposed to be the 'win" conservatives got in exchange for hiking the debt ceiling.

The meltdown in the Budget Committee (which doesn't spend money on programs, they just produce "top line" numbers for each section of the budget and then authorization and appropriation committees decide which programs get how much) under each section) came after the chairman said he couldn't get enough votes from the Republicans to move the budget to the floor.

The crack leadership team did their own whip count and said the chairman was wrong, there were enough votes. As usual, leadership was wrong.

So now the House GOP can't produce a budget resolution because of a schism in the party. As I asked two years ago this very day...what's holding the GOP together? I didn't think much was then and nothing I've seen since has led me to change my mind.

Added Gratuitious Anti-GOP Slap: Other than Keystone, the first 3 months of the GOP controlling the House with it's largest majority in history consists of:

-Funding Obama's amnesty
-Shelving an anti-abortion measure that has wide public support and passed the House before
-Proposing to reauthorize SCHIP at a rate higher than what George W. Bush vetoed TWICE
-Negotiating a deal with Nancy Peolosi to add hundreds of billions of dollars in deficit entitlement spending

I follow the news pretty closely. I'm pretty sure none of that was what the GOP promised.

digg this
posted by DrewM. at 09:47 AM

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