Crumble: GOP effort to cut $100 billion fails — thanks to massive Republican defections
posted at 5:38 pm on February 18, 2011 by Allahpundit
Remember, even the full, allegedly “draconian” $100 billion figure is a pittance compared to this year’s projected $1.5 trillion deficit.
The House rejected a measure cutting an additional $22 billion from the Republican spending bill, as conservatives ran into a wall of opposition from the GOP establishment over the depth of reductions to federal funding.
The amendment backed by the conservative Republican Study Committee failed, 147-281, but not before putting the GOP spending divide under a spotlight on the House floor. Authored by RSC chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the proposal would have dramatically reshaped an appropriations bill that already slashes federal spending by $61 billion over the next seven months…
Like no previous proposal, the heated debate over the amendment drew a bright line through the GOP conference, pitting conservatives pushing the deepest spending cuts against senior Republicans who denounced them as “misguided,” “indiscriminate” and, in the case of Rep. Daniel Lungren (R-Calif.), “lazy.”…
While Republicans were critical of the measure, Democrats adopted an apocalyptic tone. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said that while the entire spending bill was “irresponsible,” the Jordan amendment would “commit this country to an economic death spiral.”
Among the Republicans voting with Democrats to torpedo the extra $22 billion: Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, new star Kristi Noem, and committee chairmen Dan Lungren, Hal Rogers, and Jo Bonner. The best I can do by way of spin here is that maybe this is a bit of kabuki by the GOP in anticipation of an increasingly inevitable government shutdown. Pelosi’s aides are already warning Democrats that the Senate and House may be too far apart to compromise and that a shutdown is likely (especially now that amendments to defund O-Care, Planned Parenthood, and Obama’s czars have been added). And government officials who served during the 1995 shutdown are warning the White House that if they don’t already have a plan in place to deal with it, they’d better get crackin’. Maybe Cantor et al. figure that if there’s not going to be a deal, it’s best to start preparing the ground for the media war over the shutdown by opting for the modest cuts. That way when the left screams “draconian!”, they can respond by claiming that the GOP actually took a “middle path.”
The problem with that logic, though, is that when a deal is struck to end the shutdown, we’ll be stuck with a still lower amount of cuts yet. Instead of coming to the table with $100 billion out and settling for $78 billion, the GOP will be going in there with $78 billion out and destined to take less. And of course, there’s nothing stopping them from arguing — entirely correctly — that $100 billion in no way qualifies as “draconian” when it’s not even 10 percent of this year’s deficit. They won an election three months ago because they promised to cut spending, and now they’re cutting it. If the Democrats would rather shut down the government than accept the plain and patent fact that we’re desperately broke as a nation, let them explain why. In fact, that’d be a nice jumping-off point for a discussion of The One’s disgraceful cowardice in refusing to deal with entitlements. Frame the $100 billion as something “draconian” that the GOP simply had to do because the golfer-in-chief apparently no longer takes his job seriously. Instead, they’re evidently going to go the “middle path” route. How lucky do you feel?
Exit quotation from Ace: “The GOP is dead to me.”
Update: Actually, the situation’s even grimmer than I thought. Jordan’s cuts wouldn’t have brought the total number up to $100 billion but merely to $83 billion. Terrific.