Debt Jumped $54.1 Billion in 8 Days Preceding Boehner-Obama Deal to Cut $38.5 Billion for Rest of Year
Yippee! Hooray! Victory! The DC politicians have reduced spending for 2011 by a fraction of a mono-percent, which accomplishes zilch. The true showdown is looming next month — raising the debt ceiling — the drop dead date comes in July when the government will no longer be able to meet its obligations.
The down-to-the-wire partisan struggle over cuts to this year’s federal budget has intensified concern in Washington, on Wall Street and among economists about the more consequential clash coming over increasing the government’s borrowing limit.
Congressional Republicans are pledging that before they will agree to raise the current $14.25 trillion federal debt ceiling – a step that will become necessary in as few as five weeks – President Obama and Senate Democrats will have to agree to far deeper spending cuts for next year and beyond than those contained in the six-month budget deal agreed to late Friday night that cut $38 billion and averted a government shutdown.
Government shutdown averted: Congress agrees to budget deal, stopgap funding
By Paul Kane, Philip Rucker and David A. Fahrenthold, Saturday, April 9, 2:48 AM
Congressional leaders agreed late Friday to a compromise that will keep the federal government funded for the remainder of the fiscal year — averting a government shutdown less than an hour before it was set to start.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) announced the deal just before 11 p.m. The agreement came together in a few frantic hours at the near-deserted Capitol, with a midnight deadline looming.
“I’m pleased that Senator Reid and I and the White House have been able to come to an agreement that will, in fact, cut spending and keep our government open,” Boehner said at an impromptu news conference, mentioning Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).
Shortly after, President Obama read a statement from the White House, pointing out that the Washington Monument, seen lit up over his shoulder, would be open as usual on Saturday.
“Today, Americans of different beliefs came together,” Obama said. He said the cuts would be painful but necessary to maintain the country’s fiscal health. “We protected the investments we need to win the future.”
To keep the government running through Friday, lawmakers approved a short-term spending measure overnight — the Senate at 12:20 a.m. and the House at 12:40 a.m. — and said the final agreement should be approved next week.
If that happens, the measure would cut $37.8 billion from the federal budget through the end of September, congressional aides said.
Democrats had wanted to cut billions less: they assented to the larger figure, and in return Republicans dropped a demand to take federal funds from the group Planned Parenthood, according to aides in both parties.
However, Republicans did win the inclusion of a policy rider that forbids public money from going toward blog.html abortion procedures in the District of Columbia, a restriction that had previously been enacted when Republicans held power in federal Washington. The deal also adds money for one of Boehner’s favored projects, a program that provides low-income District students with money to attend private schools.
After 11 p.m., Reid described the negotiations briefly in a speech on the Senate floor.
“We didn’t do it at this late hour for drama, we did it because it’s been very hard to arrive at this point,” Reid said. “Both sides have had to make tough choices. But tough choices is what this job’s all about.”
The cuts, if enacted, would add up to the largest budget reduction for federal agencies in U.S. history. Some conservative Republicans had pushed for much more and grumbled about the compromise Friday.
But this was still a compromise made on their terms — and a sign of their power. Inside a few months, an ascendant Republican Party has managed to impose its small-government agenda on a town still largely controlled by Democrats.
“It’s all that one-half of one-third of the government can hope for,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), emerging from a caucus meeting after the deal was struck. “In democracy, you compromise.”
The budget agreement is not yet law. On Friday, there simply wasn’t time to make it legal before midnight.
Some conservatives have signaled that they would be unhappy with any compromise that offered a smaller spending reduction than the $61 billion the GOP-led House had passed.
Cutting “$61 billion was just a modest first step,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), co-chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee. He said he would vote “no” on the stopgap measure, signalling his displeasure that Boehner had settled for less. “You need to stay focused on getting the victories in the smaller things so you can get victories in the bigger things later.”
But it’s unclear how widespread such unhappiness will be inside the GOP. Already, many Republicans have called for the party to finish this fight, and focus on a much more ambitious one over the 2012 budget. This week, the House Budget Committee approved a plan that, over 10 years, would save $6 trillion.
The fight over the 2011 budget “is the first bite of the apple,” said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the budget committee chairman and the architect of that proposal. “We want to get billions in savings and then we want to move on to get trillions in savings.”
On Friday, Obama, who had called congressional leaders to the White House three times in the previous two days to hash out an agreement, played a less public role in the debate. Aides said he spoke on the phone to Boehner twice and Reid at least once, as well as huddling with his own advisers.
He canceled a Friday morning speech in Indianapolis on energy and later in the afternoon opted against a family trip to Williamsburg as a shutdown loomed.
With an agreement, Congress seemed to have resolved a battle that had been brewing since last fall’s elections. As the shutdown ticked closer, it had transfixed and partially paralyzed a vast federal bureaucracy.
If the government had closed, it would have meant closures at national parks and federal agencies, a halt to trash pickup in the District, and furloughs for more than 800,000 governments workers. Just preparing for that had slowed federal business to a crawl in the last week.
Now, officials said, museums should re-open in the morning, and government workers should come to work as scheduled. Washington should continue as if nothing happened.
This budget fight involved just a tiny fraction of the $1 trillion-plus that Congress doles out every year. But the timing was more important than the numbers. This was the first battle since Republicans took the House of Representatives, promising to pare back government spending and deficits. So Republicans — led by Boehner, in his first intense engagement as a leader — were determined to stand their ground in their first fight.
Democrats, on the other hand, still hold the Senate and the White House. In the Senate, Democratic leaders were determined not to be outmaneuvered by Republicans. And in the White House, President Obama seemed interested in cementing his role as a calm mediator, a CEO.
And none of them wanted to be the first to blink. That might have set a damaging precedent for future fights with higher stakes, over the decision to raise the national debt limit, and to pass a 2012 budget.
Their brinksmanship lasted even into Friday, the last day before a shutdown that would likely have damaged both parties’ political fortunes.
Democrats used the day to repeatedly bash the other side for refusing to budge on an issue tied to abortion.
“The House leadership, with the speaker, have a very clear choice to make, and they don’t have much time to make that choice,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in an afternoon news conference. “They can keep their word and significantly cut the federal deficit, or they can shut down the American government over women’s access to health care. If that sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is ridiculous.”
On the Republican side, Boehner emerged repeatedly to reiterate the same message: there was no deal yet.
“Most of the policy issues have been dealt with,” Boehner said Friday afternoon. “The big fight is over the spending.”
As the debate went on, frustration bubbled on both sides. Reid said the drawn-out negotiations had even provoked an outburst from Vice President Biden as a White House talking session hit snags Thursday night.
“Joe Biden wasn’t flustered,” Reid said when a reporter described Biden that way. “But he was damn mad.”
A key sticking point, aides said, was the argument about federal funding for groups such as Planned Parenthood — which was really an argument about abortion.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider. In accordance with federal law, none of the money it gets from the government funds abortions. But the organization receives millions of federal dollars for non-abortion services for low-income people, including breast exams and Pap smears, cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, family planning and contraceptives.
Conservatives have questioned the integrity of the group and argued that even if federal funding does not pay for abortions, it frees up other money that does.
In lieu of a provision defunding Planned Parenthood, Republicans this week proposed an alternative that would change the way funding for women’s health programs is distributed, according to senior congressional aides.
Instead of providing the money in federal grants to groups such as Planned Parenthood, the funds would be sent to states in the form of block grants. It would be up to state governments to distribute those funds to health groups.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who co-chairs the Pro-Life Caucus, said the original legislation stripping Planned Parenthood of all its federal funding would have been a blow to the group’s abortion efforts.
He said that one-fourth of all abortions in the United States were performed at the group’s clinics and that its services for women were minimal compared with community health centers that focus on helping the poor.
“You would think this is about women’s health care,” Smith said dismissively of the Democratic arguments. “It’s about abortion.”
From The Washington Post:
Congress needs to stop using the 600,000 U.S. citizens who live in Washington, D.C., as bargaining chips — which they did last night, as usual with their riders.
We pay our taxes like everyone else, yet we have no voting representation in Congress, so Congress continually runs over our rights and imposes its will over the public’s objections. In this budget deal, Congress is tampering with the local tax funds of D.C. residents and imposing John Boehner’s $2 million of NEW FUN… DING in vouchers — which D.C. doesn’t want — on the D.C. schools.(This is JOHN BOEHNER’S EARMARK, folks! I thought he wanted to cut federal funding in the 2011 budget!)
The rest of you folks would fire your members of Congress if they did this to you. Please help us! Complain to YOUR members of Congress for us, because they will listen to YOU! See Less
Today 4/9/2011 7:33:19 AM EDT
The November chickens are coming home to roost in the middle of a dark, dank Friday night.
Look where confrontation politics have led us. Just imagine trying to manage your household budget in this absurd and ruinous fashion.
In Wisconsin, live on Fox (well, not anymore!) and now in DC, the teabag revolution is imploding. Back to your Barcaloungers, ye borborygmus belchers,
Today 4/9/2011 5:04:51 AM EDT
Dems: We’ve saved Planned Parenthood!
But I thought it was all about “the children?”
Today 4/9/2011 1:40:44 AM EDT
So, Congress is so serious about cutting spending that they decided to throw new funding of $2 million at the D.C. government to pay for school vouchers, which D.C. doesn’t even want.
And Congress also retained the rider that prohibits use of locally raised funds to pay for abortions in D.C. — which has nothing to do with federal funding at all. It just shows the great disrespect that Congress has for taxpayers in this country!
President Obama has caved aga… in. And, clearly, the Democrats are just as willing as the Republicans to use D.C. taxpayers’s rights as bargaining chips, since we have no voting representation in Congress. See Less
Today 4/9/2011 12:23:25 AM EDT
The real number was 78 billion. I don’t know why the post is not reporting that. 78 billiion is not nearly enought … but it is a start. 78 billion down, 14 Trillion to go.
All this could have been avioded if the democrats and Obama had just done their job last year.
Today 4/9/2011 12:16:26 AM ED
Okay, so there won’t be a shutdown. So can the local news get off the air talking about this yet? IT’S OVER! WE GET IT!
Today 4/9/2011 12:04:13 AM EDT
I’m confused on the unanimous consent provisions in the senate on a must pass bill. I thought Sen. Paul was against, on a procedural vote that would stop unanimous consent.
Today 4/9/2011 12:00:42 AM EDT
Congress: HISTORIC cuts!
White House: HISTORIC cuts!
American People: 1.5% cut when we’re $1.5 trillion in debt just for this year? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Are they ALL on crack?
4/8/2011 11:47:27 PM EDT
we need increases in revenues, not cuts to the social safety net, to truly address the financial issues our country faces… this whole fight was just more of the continual republican attack on the middle class. The attack on health care for women coupled with their upcoming attack on the elderly when they try to kill medicare will finish them off… this battle demonstrated to the country the true priority of the republican party, and it is not we the people…
4/8/2011 11:26:45 PM EDT
Didn’t need no welfare state, everybody pulled his weight, Tea Partiers don’t be too irate, a deal was made.
4/8/2011 11:13:31 PM ED
Boehner for the first time in a week looked relieved. Cantor looked liked he was biting his tongue losing the line in the sand battle. Title X cuts were removed and this will fly through the senate to be signed immediately by the president.
4/8/2011 10:56:58 PM EDT
Can somebody please explain to me why it takes a week — in this electronic age where there’s a computer on everyone’s desk and instant communication — for the actual budget bill to get written?
Why doesn’t Congress just stay in session this weekend and get the job finished?
Or will that disrupt their scheduled political fundraisers?
4/8/2011 10:48:32 PM EDT
This shutdown is only the appetizer in a three course meal. The debt ceiling and the 2012 budget are next on the menu. Once the Fed discontinues buying up half the government’s debt by July, as it says it will do, who is left to back up Timmy’s credit card ?? Expect more ugliness and finger pointing. Stock up on Alka-Seltzer.
4/8/2011 11:18:49 AM EDT
Typical Republican tactic. Seems that a bunch of rich, fat, white guys just can’t keep their nose out of a woman’s womb. Gotta shore up those far right nut cases and their fundamentalist religious beliefs. These are the same folks that criticize fundamentalist Islam.
Pass a budget and keep your ideologies to yourself.
4/8/2011 11:51:10 AM ED
This is stupid. Roe v Wade was settled a long time ago and the Republicans should give up that fight. As for cutting more spending, shave a fraction of a percentage point from every agencies budget and tell them to make up the difference by cutting wasteful spending, being more efficient, etc. This whole deal should/could be done in 5 minutes or less. But of course, we’re dealing with politicians…on both sides.
4/8/2011 12:33:42 PM EDT
This is what Harry Reid said: ““Republicans are asking me to sacrifice my wife’s health, my daughter’s health and my nine granddaughters’ health,” Reid said. ”
What an absolute crock! If the millionair Harry Reid expects us to believe that his Wife, Daughter’s and Granddaughters get their health care from Planned Parenthood then he is very wrong. Planned Parenthood could close their doors today forever and it would not effect the health of any of the Reids.
Planned Parenthood is an abortion mill. That is their main function and they push it hard. The democrats want to fund that nation wide private industry abortion mill. That is the simple truth.
As for the shutdown, if the democrats and Obama had done their job we would not be having this discussion but they were afraid that if they passed a 2011 over bloated budget when they had the majority in 2010 that America would fire them in the November 2010 election. We fired them anyway and will fire the rest of them next year.
4/8/2011 1:43:44 PM EDT
Meanwhile, outside the beltway people somehow are able to get on with their lives. Much ado about very little.
4/8/2011 2:29:52 PM EDT
That’s hilarious, if true. The hypocrisy of the republicans. Care for an unthinking blob, but don’t care for the desperate woman or the starving kids or the sick grandparents. Care most about all of that money you’re stealing from the taxpayers. The greed, the avarice, the pure evil of the republican party, and the stupidity of the fools who support it. Yeah, they want to cut the deficit. Sure they do. What a joke.
4/8/2011 3:25:57 PM EDT
From The Christian Science Monitor:
GE made 14 billion and paid no taxes on it. We have 500,000 military personnel in 170 nations. That’s not counting intelligence operatives and rent-a-soldiers. The ink is barely dry on the Bush/Obama tax cut extension giving 52% of the benefit to the top 5%. So, when they tell you that painful cuts need to be made you know who will feel the pain.
Dave Beall 7 hours ago
It would have cost more to shut down the government for any time period then the government would have saved with cuts. The national parks department alone would have cost 39 million dollars each day it was closed.
Fixing the budget correctly would require that both sides put aside their extensive vacation schedule and would mean special interest groups (such as the tea party and the US Chamber of Commerce etc ) would need to be kicked out of Washington so the actual issues of budget could be addressed.
FloridaRealtor 7 hours ago
Finally the Republicans didn’t roll over. This may be a baby step, but it’s at least one in the right direction.
smg7163 6 hours ago
Right. So what exactly have they supported that has brought back jobs to the 15 percent of our working population that’s out of work? They screamed out H1 visa rates being raised, but they’ve been suspiciously quiet that as soon as that was done jobs in the tech sector started to open up to Americans again.
Common sense should tell you if you want to pay lower taxes, you need to broaden your taypayer base. It should also tell you that the tax breaks of the last 10 years to the wealthy brought you nothing so why should it do anything now? Corporations aren’t going to change their offshoring policy voluntarily, it’s only because of the political unrest in countries such as Egypt that they are now starting to reevaluate the impact of having all of our data processed overseas not because of tax breaks.
Most of the working public understands this, why can’t our politicians?
3_Palms 7 hours ago
So the Democratic Congress didn’t do its job last year and this is now the fault of the Tea Party? Why is it that every time there is some issue that blocks something it’s the Tea Parties fault? What’s even more amazing is that while some in the liberal media say (with no evidence but lots of name calling) that the Tea Party is nothing but a bunch of white raciest and are of no real consequence, others in the same liberal media say that they wield all of this great power to shut down the entire government.
“Politically, it’s the first major illustration of tea party-fueled conservatism behind resurgent Republicans who took back the US House of Representatives in last fall’s elections. And as such, it sharply hints at the difficulty all factions face in trying to craft a budget for FY 2012….”
If the CSM were more accurate, dare I say “fair and balanced”, this line should have read this way:
“Politically, it’s the first major illustration of how fiscal responsibility will be an issue when trying to craft a budget for FY 2012.”
Guest 6 hours ago
congress needs to be put back on a retirement plan like all other gov workers thay don’t deserve a retirement after only serving 4 years Patty Murry needs to have only one office not five we need to be told the truth and not th lies we are told what do thay all think we are dumb we can all see through the bull and put 2 and 2 together It doesn’t come out to 4 in there eyes.
lele0212 7 hours ago
Well what did they cut?
SaneParty 6 hours ago
Research it and find the answers yourself. Don’t let others do the work for you, the thinking for you. Curtis Jasper 7 hours ago
The Tea Party has showed its hand — it’s all bark and no bite. If they are so easily manipulated by somebody like Boehner and yet praise him for it, it doesn’t say a lot for their prospects.
I don’t think the Republicans will take the Tea Party half as seriously in primary season of 2012 as they would have if the government shut down had proceeded. They are the new social conservatives — the GOP can probably toss them a bone one day of the year and ignore them the other 364.
Jim Frake 4 hours ago
Can’t really see how this is being touted as a victory. Seriously, we spend 250 bill on interest alone per year from our debt. The amount of cuts is less than 2% of overall yearly spending. Wtf? We are adding 1.6 trillion to the national dept per year! 100 billion wouldn’t have been enough. I really don’t think anything less than a balanced budget (i.e.1600 billion) is acceptable. We will pay for this mess one day and everybody whining that we aren’t concerned with peoples needs don’t see the “runaway “bus” coming coming aimed at every home and family in America. Elementary children can understand this problem. Wake up people. At least see it for what it is.
Guest 6 hours ago
What everyone is forgetting or just hasn’t been said is that thebudget should have been passed last year when The democrats had the power to do so It is not all on the Republicans the government physivl year is October to October What is going to hppen the october when the physical year comes around and there is no Budget again
Woody_Porter 6 hours ago
As a worker in the federal market, I would have been directly impacted by a shutdown. But quite frankly, I would have been quite happy to see this happen. Non-essential programs idled and non-essential personnel furrowed… How can my children (tomorrows taxpayers) know what’ essential to their well being (i.e., government spending) unless they see if they can get by without it?
Charles Gordon 6 hours ago