Tag Archives: budget deal

Ryan to support budget deal

The fix is in: House Speaker-to-be Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) announced today that he will support the two year budget deal worked out by the White House and Republican and Democratic leaders that locks in increased spending and raises the debt limit for the next two years.

I could also say that Ryan’s betrayal of the conservatives in Congress didn’t take long. He didn’t even wait until he was officially elected Speaker. And if you read his reasons for this decision at the link, you will see them for what they are, shallow talking points that mean nothing.

The only good thing about this is — and it isn’t much — is that it will likely provide Ted Cruz some nice ammunition during tonight’s Presidential debate.

That the Freedom Caucus in the House is pissed at the deal and will oppose it also suggests to me that we are getting closer and closer to a split in the Republican Party.

Thirteen insane projects funded by our federal government.

Thirteen insane projects funded by our federal government.

I especially like #5: “NASA spends $3 million looking for signs of intelligent life…in Congress.”

These idiotic programs, which certainly only scratch the surface of the wasteful and corrupt spending in Washington, prove once again that the most recent budget deal is a fraud, that there is no reason to support any increase in federal spending, that we probably could cut the budget in half and not notice anything.

Sadly, that budget deal appears about to pass the Senate.

It appears that Senate Republicans will filibuster the Ryan budget deal.

Maybe not so stupid: It appears that Senate Republicans will filibuster the Ryan budget deal.

If the Republicans in the Senate can force some changes, to both the reduction in the sequester cuts over the next two years as well as the procedural change that ends the minority’s ability to block tax increases, then they will have accomplished something.

What I like about this is that they appear to be willing to fight, something Republicans all too often fail to do.

Yup, this sums it up nicely.

Yup, this sums it up nicely.

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan has now accomplished the astonishing task of pushing House Republicans substantially to the left of the Senate GOP. His budget deal, announced Tuesday night, was achieved by shutting conservative Senate Republicans out of negotiations, by resorting to the old trick of spending now while claiming savings later, by ignoring a symbolically important budgetary red line, and by treating as Democratic “concessions” things to which even Democratic budgeteers already had agreed.

The chess equivalent of Ryan’s deal would be trading a castle for a mere pawn. No wonder conservatives are feeling rooked.

The absurdity of this deal is highlighted especially by the ongoing disaster of Obamacare. The Republicans have a very strong negotiating hand right now. They could have actually demanded a repeal of Obamacare in budget talks and thus pushed the Democrats into a corner for which there really is no escape. What would the Democrats do, shut the government down again so that more people could lose their health insurance?

Instead, Ryan behaved as if the Democrats have a Royal Flush and he only had a pair of twos. The stupid party strikes again!

The Ryan budget deal includes a provision that limits the ability of the Senate minority to block tax increases.

The stupid party: The Ryan budget deal includes a provision that limits the ability of the Senate minority to block tax increases.

The bill includes language from the Senate Democrats’ budget that voids senators’ ability to raise a budget “point of order” against replacing the sequester cuts with tax increases. The process is quite complicated, but in practice it grants Harry Reid the authority to send tax increases to the House with a bare majority, rather than the 60-vote threshold that would be required under a point of order.

In other words, another example of a Republican getting hosed in negotiations.

Though I have read several conservative reports about this deal that outline some of its positive benefits, on the whole it appears to be another defeat for the right.

This detailed look at the budget deal suggests it isn’t as much of a surrender as first implied.

This detailed look at the budget deal suggests it isn’t as much of a surrender as first implied.

I have to admit this analysis leaves me more hopeful, especially with this point:

That the Democrats would accept a deal like this is a pretty striking indication of how the Republican House has changed the conversation on the spending front since 2010. Think of it this way: In their first budget after re-taking the majority—the FY 2012 Ryan budget, passed in 2011—the House Republicans wanted discretionary spending to be $1.039 trillion in 2014 and $1.047 trillion in 2015. These budgets were of course described by the Democrats and the political press (but I repeat myself) as some reversion to humanity’s barbaric past. Yet this proposed deal with the Democrats would put discretionary spending at $1.012 trillion in 2014 and $1.014 trillion in 2015—in both cases below that first House Republican budget.

Check out the graph at the link. It does illustrate bluntly that the Republicans are beginning to force the budget curve downward, if slowly. It also suggests that should they win big majorities in both Houses of Congress next November they will be posed to finally push for some real reductions in the size of the federal government, as they will have the votes in Congress and will be doing it with the strong endorsement of the voters.

The Republican leadership expresses contempt for any opposition to its budget deal that abandons the cuts imposed by sequestration

The Republican leadership expresses contempt for any opposition to its budget deal that abandons the cuts imposed by sequestration.

The Republican leadership are fools. If anything, this is the moment to push harder, to not only demand that the sequestration cuts stay in place, but to demand a repeal of Obamacare.

Why Republicans should reject the surrender budget deal rumors say Paul Ryan is negotiating with Democrats.

Why Republicans should reject the surrender budget deal rumors say Paul Ryan is negotiating with Democrats.

Expect more articles like this. There are a lot of conservatives in the Republican House caucus who are no longer willing to lick the feet of Democrats, even if the Republican leadership is. And any deal that gives up sequestration is going to face their wrath.

Also, these kinds of articles serve to pressure Ryan so that he does not agree to a surrender.

Another news report suggests that Republicans are preparing to surrender in budget talks.

Another news report suggests that Republicans are preparing to surrender in budget talks.

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. [emphasis mine]

To me, the biggest disappointment of this surrender is that Paul Ryan is negotiating it, proof that he too is no fiscal conservative and worse is far more stupid than I had thought.

The Senate budget deal that the House will vote on today includes some really nice pork.

The Senate budget deal that the House will vote on today includes some really nice pork.

The bill includes extra funds to fix flooded roads in Colorado, a $3 million appropriation for a civil liberties oversight board and a one-time payment to the widow of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who died over the summer. It also includes a more than $2 billion increase in funding for construction on the lower Ohio River in Illinois and Kentucky. Current law authorizes $775 million in spending for related projects, and the bill increases it to $2.918 billion.

The last appears to be a kickback to Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to get him to buy into this crap.

The bill also has this crap:

The legislation broadly re-opens the government through Jan. 15, and extends the ability of the government to borrow money through Feb. 7. It does so by allowing President Obama to waive the debt ceiling, a move that can be overridden by a resolution of disapproval by Congress that Obama could still veto. [emphasis mine]

In other words, Congress is now ceding this budgetary responsibility and power to the President, who will then rule by decree.

Update: The bill passed both houses of Congress and has now been signed by the President. Note that the only opposition came from Republicans, but even here the opposition was a minority. The Democrats strongly endorsed this bill, and for good reason. It gives them (and the Republicans who supported it) lots of pork and greater power for Obama. Americans meanwhile are screwed. The day of reckoning still looms.

Lying for Politicians

With the recently passed debt ceiling deal, there are going to be a lot of news reports talking about how that deal is going to force cuts and reductions in government spending. Everyone one of these stories will be a lie.

Take for example this story today in Nature, discussing the fate of science research under the deal. Here is how they describe what will happen if the Congressional “super-committee” cannot come up with an agreement and across-the-board “cuts” are triggered:

“Then there will be extraordinary pain,” says Michael Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society in Washington DC. “And it will get worse in 2014.”

The two-stage structure of the debt deal explains both the short-term reprieve and the long-term worry. The first set of agreed cuts, totalling US$917 billion, will be spread over 10 years, but two factors mitigate their effect. First, reductions to defence spending will account for a significant share of the cuts — meaning that other US agencies won’t bear the entire burden. Second, the cuts are heavily loaded forward onto the 2014 fiscal year and beyond, in an apparent effort to shelter the current fragile economy. Only minimal cuts will be implemented in fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

The trouble with this is that it is simply not true. There will be no cuts at all, under any condition, according the debt deal.
» Read more

Details on the $38 billion budget deal

Some details on the $38 billion budget deal.

Overall, it looks like more of the same, gimmicks disguised as budget cuts. Nonetheless, considering that most of government is still controlled by status quo spenders — in both parties — the deal is still a good one, as it clearly sets that political tone for the future: budget cuts and more budget cuts.