It didn’t take long for the Senate to approve the House’s continuing resolution to keep the federal government in operation until April 8th, three weeks from now. After Barack Obama signaled his intent to sign the bill, it sailed through the Senate by a wide bipartisan margin, 87-13, with 9 of the 13 dissenters Republicans. But while Obama signs the bill, he may need to explain how Republicans managed to cut more spending in three weeks than Democrats proposed for the rest of the year:
The Senate approved another stopgap budget bill Thursday that would keep the federal government open until April 8. The measure, which had already passed the House, is expected to be signed by President Obama on Friday.
The bill would cut $6 billion in federal spending. That makes twice this month that lawmakers from both parties have agreed to slash billions from the budget.
But the measure did not get Democrats and Republicans any closer to agreeing on a larger deal to fund the government through September, the end of the fiscal year.
Recall that Democrats proposed a supposed $6.5 billion in cuts for the remainder of FY2011 and claimed that any more reductions in a budget with a $1600 billion hole would be irresponsible. Dick Durbin, the Democrats’ #2 man in the Senate, refused to go any further. When the CBO reviewed the markup from Senate Democrats, it turned out that Durbin hadn’t even gone that far. The final tally of Democratic cuts to the budget for six months was $4.7 billion.
Now, Democrats have agreed to six billion dollars in cuts for just three weeks. That’s a total of $10 billion thus far in two CRs covering five weeks. Given that only four members out of their caucus of 53 Senators voted against this CR, can we now dispense with the ridiculous notion that the House’s proposal to cut $61 billion represented some kind of radical action that would undermine the very fabric of the Republic?