Over the weekend, House and Senate Republican proposals on the fiscal showdown, which largely met previously stated demands from the White House, were summarily rejected by President Obama and Senate Democrats. Having shown that they are desperate to end the stand-off, the GOP is now facing pressure from Democrats to undo the sequester cuts agreed to during the last debt-ceiling debate. Limping, the DC GOP seems ready to accept this defeat.
The Budget Control Act of 2011, a product of the last negotiations on the debt ceiling, enacted across-the-board spending cuts in discretionary programs. They weren’t smart. They weren’t targeted. They didn’t address entitlement spending, the real driver of federal deficits and debt. But, they were actual cuts in federal spending. It was something. Now, having completely misplayed its hand in the shutdown debate, the GOP is willing to negotiate it away.
The Budget Control Act, aka sequester, limits discretionary appropriations in 2014 to $967 billion. The Senate Democrat budget blueprint, and Obama’s budget proposal, outlines closer to $1.1 trillion in spending. Sources on the Hill tell Breitbart News that House Republicans are willing to increase discretionary spending above sequester levels to reach a deal to lift the debt ceiling and end the partial government shutdown.
In other words, Republicans want to increase spending to enable the national debt to increase.
Republicans, of course, will claim that the proposed increase in discretionary spending will only come about in exchange for reduced spending on entitlements in the future. The problem is, we’ve been through this before. Congress has often promised mythical cuts in future entitlement spending. It never happens.
The DC GOP has had the keys to the car for too long. One week ago, they were in the drivers’ position on the current fiscal stand-off. One poll, which showed approval for the party at a historic low, also showed approval for the Democrat party just 2 points above its historic low. Yet, the GOP decided to proverbially roam the streets, looking for someone to offer surrender papers.
It would lift the debt ceiling with no conditions. It would re-open government. Now, it is poised to agree to an increase in federal spending.
Not only is it time to take away the GOP’s keys, it is time to rip up its driver’s license.