There is somewhat of a debate among conservatives whether we should support the Ryan budget because it does contain some good reforms, or if we should send a clear message that the spending cuts are too modest. Last week, I noted that the real question is whether Paul Ryan and leadership will stand by their own budget – or even part of it. Last year, they completely jettisoned the Ryan budget for the inane debt ceiling deal. Does anyone really believe that they will fight the Democrats to the brink at the end of September in order to implement the Ryan budget?
Well, amidst the flurry of budget news last week, I found this nugget from Politico:
Prodded by party leaders, the Budget Committee backtracked from its earlier demands that all such emergency assistance be fully offset within the strict spending caps set in the resolution. And House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers told POLITICO that he now feels free to “ignore” these demands, first spelled out Monday in a legislative report prepared by the Budget panel to explain the assumptions that underlie its fiscal blueprint.
The Kentucky Republican said he had the backing of the leadership and an understanding had been reached with Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) since the report’s release.
“You can’t fix it. It’s already in the report,” the Kentucky Republican told POLITICO. “But when the time comes for a bill to include disaster designated [funding], I will ignore that provision with the leadership’s understanding – and Paul Ryan’s.
So when Ryan set forth a spending cap of $1.028 trillion this year, it won’t include emergency spending. If you remember, this was the first step in retreating from the budget resolution last year.
Last year, Republicans proposed cutting discretionary spending down from $1.047 trillion in FY 2011 to $1.019 trillion in FY 2012. In late July, they summarily terminated the budget in favor for the spending cap set under the budget control act of $1.043 trillion. But then there was the $10.9 billion in emergency disaster relief. Ultimately, they never offset the emergency spending, setting the total discretionary spending tab for the year at $1.053.9 trillion. In other words, they actually spent more money than the previous year.
Now it appears that Paul Ryan is signaling to the big-government Republicans on the Appropriation Committee that it is ok to breach the $1.028 figure with emergency spending.
What is so disconcerting about this is that they seem to be so scrapped for finding spending cuts that they can’t even find a few billion more in offsets just to keep their original promise. That says a lot about their view of government. Obviously, GOP leadership and the appropriators view all of the spending on Energy, HUD, Education, and Commerce as vital and inviolable. They are not willing to cut an extra few billion from those departments, much less eliminate them altogether.
So with all the imbroglio over the Ryan budget, remember that Republicans have no intention of sticking by it. The budget is all window dressing to placate conservative demands for spending cuts. Some things just never change – not until we change leadership in the House.
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