Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Party of No Lawmakers: Better thee than me

The New York Times reports that Republican budget cutting is about to begin in earnest.
The incoming Republican majority in the House is moving to make good on its promise to cut $100 billion from domestic spending this year, a goal eagerly backed by conservatives but one carrying substantial political and economic risks.

House Republican leaders are so far not specifying which programs would bear the brunt of budget cutting, only what would escape it: spending for the military, domestic security and veterans.

The reductions that would be required in the remaining federal programs, including education and transportation, would be so deep — roughly 20 percent on average — that Senate Republicans have not joined the $100 billion pledge that House Republicans, led by the incoming speaker, Representative John A. Boehner, made to voters before November’s midterm elections.
Hmm, so 20 percent cuts in discretionary spending are necessary for the Republicans to keep their promise.

Let's then look at one of the Republicans' first scheduled votes, concerning the operation of Congress itself. Will Republican lawmakers hold themselves to the same 20 percent standard as other parts of the government? Not even close.

The Hill reports
The House will vote Thursday on a resolution cutting House office expenses by 5 percent, one day after Republicans take over the chamber.

The GOP estimates that the budget cuts will save $35.2 million in 2011, according to a House aide. The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), will cut salaries and expenses at personal and leadership offices by 5 percent, according to a copy of the proposed legislation.

The resolution would be effective for the next two years. Cuts to leadership offices save $1 million; committee reductions save $8.1 million; and cuts to members' office budgets save $26.1 million.
It's not as if there aren't some discretionary and wasteful Congressional activities to cut, what with the Party of No staging a go-nowhere vote against health reform and lining up lots of investigative hearings.

If Republicans were the least bit serious about the budget, they would find the discipline to cut their own budgets by 20 percent.