CBO: Last week’s $38 billion budget deal only reduces this year’s deficit by … $352 million; Update: GOP leaders lobbying for votes

posted at 6:25 pm on April 13, 2011 by Allahpundit

Tomorrow’s House vote is going to be epic, my friends. Epic.

The Congressional Budget Office estimate shows that compared with current spending rates the spending bill due for a House vote Thursday would pare just $352 million from the deficit through Sept. 30. About $8 billion in cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid are offset by nearly equal increases in defense spending…

A separate CBO analysis provided to lawmakers but not released publicly says that $5.7 billion in savings claimed by cutting bonuses to states enrolling more children and reducing the amount of money available to subsidize health care cooperatives authorized under the new health care law won’t produce a dime of actual savings. CBO believes they are simply cuts to spending authority that is unlikely to be used anyway.

But those cuts to mandatory benefit programs, while producing no deficit savings, can be claimed under budget rules to pay for spending increases elsewhere in the legislation. All told, $17.8 million in such savings is claimed but just a tiny portion of it would actually reduce the deficit…

Still, the measure halts and begins to reverse large increases for domestic agency operating budgets that have been awarded during Obama’s first two years in office.

The deal does eliminate $38 billion in “new spending authority,” but as we learned yesterday in agonizing detail, spending “authority” and actual spending are two very different things. So to sum up: In less than a week, we’ve gone from $61 billion in cuts to $38 billion in cuts to $15 billion in real cuts to $352 million in deficit reduction this year, which is less than one percent of the number agreed to in the budget deal. I can’t help but suspect that tea partiers might feel a tad … antsy about that trend.

Tim Pawlenty issued a statement earlier this afternoon urging congressional Republicans to reject the budget deal tomorrow:

The more we learn about the budget deal the worse it looks. When you consider that the federal deficit in February alone was over $222 billion, to have actual cuts less than the $38 billion originally advertised is just not serious. The fact that billions of dollars advertised as cuts were not scheduled to be spent in any case makes this budget wholly unacceptable. It’s no surprise that President Obama and Senator Reid forced this budget, but it should be rejected. America deserves better.

That’s a nifty way to polish his fiscal conservative cred with the base, but as of last night Cantor was insisting that they have the votes in the House. Maybe that’ll change after the CBO numbers start circulating, but if I had to bet, I’d still bet that it’ll pass. The conversation’s already moved on to bigger money, partly thanks to the erupting war between Obama and Ryan over entitlements and partly to the chess match between Democrats and the GOP over the debt ceiling. And because most of the public’s already moved on from the shutdown drama, if the Republican caucus forced one now, they’d inevitably get more blame than they would have if the shutdown had happened last week. So, yes, it’ll probably pass — but by how much is anyone’s guess. The comments are open for your predictions!

Update: Philip Klein’s headline says it all: “Conservatives should no longer be happy about budget deal.”

Unfortunately, it now appears that the new Republican majority has done what it attacked Democrats for doing when they controlled the House. They negotiated a back room deal, didn’t release the details until 2 a.m., and the more we have of the details, the more we find out that the actual deal is filled with accounting gimmicks. Not a good way to earn back the trust of conservatives who grew disillusioned with the GOP the last time they controlled the House.

Update: NRO reports that Boehner, Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy were still busy making the pitch as of this morning. Freshman Tim Huelskamp, noting that $352 million is less than $2 per U.S. citizen, is unpersuaded:

“In the last two hours, the country has borrowed about $352 million, so we’re making no progress in getting out of the red,” Huelskamp said. “The American people are looking for meaningful reductions that actually will make a difference to our $1.6 trillion deficit and our $14.3 trillion of debt.”

Huelskamp told National Review Online that he had basically decided when the deal was first announced that he would vote against it, but said other members were probably having second thoughts in light of the CBO report. “It’ll be interesting to see how folks vote when the cuts in here weren’t really cuts,” he said. “That will upset folks back home when they look at it. They thought freshmen were up here to change the way Washington operates, but this is the same-old same-old they’ve been doing for years.”

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Also, I’m not sure how bad things have to get with the GOP “leadership”, but at some point we have to admit that they are incapable of taking us where we want to go.

I know third party is a dirty term around here, but seriously, if we can’t purge the GOP, how smart is it to think that we’re going to get a different result? Even November’s red wave wasn’t enough to to clean the dirt out of the republicans’ ears so that they would hear us. We all need to ask ourselves if it’s really worth it to keep voting GOP and ride the country down in flames with them at the helm or if we need to just cut our losses and move on.

Free Indeed on April 14, 2011 at 8:52 AM

This is what happens when you allow weak hearted subversive people into your organization. Boehner is joke, was when he took the leadership, when he decided to cry on national TV, and confirming again now when he basically worked with the other side to deceive the conservatives into a forced approval.

The Tea Party conservative movement cannot buck the deal now because the majority of people who get their news in sound bites will see a deal both sides agreed to remembering false numbers originally reported and then now a conservative movement who refused to be reasonable. Stuck like Chuck, Mfkrs

We need a leadership change NOW not later. Conservatives should let this battle go grudenly cutting loses, with an eye on the next battle and getting our lines prepped for the rest of the war.

Boehner must go. We need a rock rib in command for our war.

C-Low on April 14, 2011 at 8:55 AM

NEVER support the RNC or any republican group again. Donate only to those who represent your views and not be deceived by cowards that will only stab you in the back. Boehner and Cantor are total disgraces.

volsense on April 14, 2011 at 9:15 AM

I said during the election that a GOP majority with the same leadership that sank us in 2008 would SUCK the LIFE out of all the enthusiasm the Tea Party has for the Republican party – and I was right.

If we had fired McConnell and Boehner – and put in DeMint and Bachmann … or one of the other firebrands … we’d be fighting right now. The government would be shut down now …

And in the end – we might not WIN the battle – but we would have shown people that we had balls and the Tea Party support wouldn’t be flying away …

This is … absolutely – death by a thousand cuts.

When you lose the World Series – if you are fortunate to ever return – you don’t put the same pitching staff on the mound.

We’re cooked.

HondaV65 on April 13, 2011 at 10:00 PM

THIS!!!! Once again, who thought it wise (I am looking at you, Tea Party freshmen) to put the same bunch of sissies in charge??? They failed us from 2000 – 2006 and have never truly expressed remorse so who thought things were going to change?

The only thing Boehner/McConnell and the big government RINOs care about is what impacts their chief donors bottomline – that is the only time I’ve seen them fight.

TheRightMan on April 14, 2011 at 9:26 AM

Boehner got punked by Barry, period.

FireBlogger on April 14, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Just looked at The Hill to see who supports this budget deal. Disappointed but not surprised that Kristi Noem supports it (she was co-opted by the establishment as soon as they gave her a committee assignment). Also, Mitch McConnell supports it? No wonder we haven’t heard much from him lately. I was heartened to see that Alan West is a definite “no” — a reversal for him as he was going to support it before the facts came out. I was surprised that Mike Pence is leaning yes–his only disappointment being that Planned Parenthood is excluded–WTH?

KickandSwimMom on April 14, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Sooner or later conservatives may have to accept that the GOP leadersip cares about us and supporting our positions almost as little as the Dems do. They were happy to have to base fired up for elections but now it’s time for the “adults in the room” to handle things. Time for us to STFU again and let them pander to Independents apparently. /s

katiejane on April 14, 2011 at 10:02 AM

When you understand that the two parties (GOP and Dem) in DC are two sides of the same coin, these shenanigans cease to surprise you.

The two (let’s call them, the ELITES) have been playing this game for a long time…. they meet to discuss bills and tell each other: “Look, I personally do not have any problem with your proposal… I just have to satisfy my party’s base – the RUBES.

Dems have currently been taken over by their far left wing (Obama/Pelosi and to a smaller extent Reid) which explains the policies that were successfully passed in the last Congress. Their goal now is to ensure that this Congress remains a “do-nothing-Congress” so that their takeover can be complete. Notice how NO ONE in the GOP is talking about severely handicapping the numerous government bureaucracies that were set up by the last Congress – just dilly-dallying on insignificant cuts and even being snookered on those.

TheRightMan on April 14, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Who wouldn’t rather have Sarah as the majority leader?

I’m certain that we wouldn’t be getting the bait-and-switch or the tears

this is exactly why we need her because she would not backtrack

Sonosam on April 14, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Many are calling for a third party – unfortunately, that is not a viable solution.

Conservatives/Tea Partiers should draw up a successful strategy to retire most of the current GOP legislators over the next few election cycles and replace them with true reformers. Extract pledges from each of the recruits never to support a RINO being placed in a leadership position. They are welcome to sit at the back of the bus.

Until the GOP is taken over completely by conservatives and the likes of Boehner/McConnell forced out of leadership, I am afraid these shenanigans designed to dispirit the base WILL continue!!

TheRightMan on April 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

TheRightMan on April 14, 2011 at 10:04 AM


when the “right” battles the lefts legislation and ” loses” they haven’t really since they end up part of the increased power crowd

too many of these dopplegangers

Sonosam on April 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

John Boehner, House Speaker and graduate of the Tom DeLay School with a BS in Speaking.

cartooner on April 14, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Just looked at The Hill to see who supports this budget deal…

KickandSwimMom on April 14, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Too bad I didn’t see my Rep listed there – I guess he is still sorting through the tons of mail and email – or he’s too chicken to state his position out loud.

jackal40 on April 14, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Many are calling for a third party – unfortunately, that is not a viable solution.

Conservatives/Tea Partiers should draw up a successful strategy to retire most of the current GOP legislators over the next few election cycles and replace them with true reformers.

TheRightMan on April 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

What? The ‘true reformers’ turn pro-government establishment in 4 months. Read the headline post about the Freshman tea partiers telling constituents upset over the deal to suck it.

Clark1 on April 14, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Time to get pissed again TEA Partiers. and this time up the amperage and focus it all on the Repubs that just dissed you. MAKE ‘EM PAY!!!

44Magnum on April 14, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Along with trying to elect so called “reformers” we really need to get term limits. People are “reformers” when they go to DC; being there only corrupts them and before long they won’t make the right choices because they need to focus on being re-elected. If you could only serve two terms, you wouldn’t need to worry about lying to your base or winning the independents because you’d be leaving soon anyway!

Free Indeed on April 14, 2011 at 12:25 PM