Posts Tagged ‘appropriations’
August 18th, 2011 at 12:00 pm
Cantor: Right Theme, but AWFUL Substance

I just about spewed my cookies when I saw this post regarding Eric Cantor. Cantor, very wisely, advises fellow Republicans to “avoid unnecessary conflict.” Well, yes. I frequently get blasted by conservative ideologues for insisting that there are occasions when it makes no sense to push issues to an all-or-nothing, edge-of-cliff face-off. As a general matter of strategy and tactics, conservatives recently have, quite arguably, tended to err a little too much in that direction for our own long-term good.

But then Cantor got specific, and he is as wrong as wrong can be (I’m quoting NRO’s Andrew Stiles here):

He [Cantor] simply suggests that House Republicans stick to the spending levels called for in the recent debt-ceiling deal, as opposed to trying to push for deeper cuts.“While all of us would like to have seen a lower discretionary appropriations ceiling for the upcoming fiscal year, the debt limit agreement did set a level of spending that is a real cut from the current year level,” Cantor writes. “I believe it is in our interest to enact into law full-year appropriations bills at this new lower level.”

This is nonsense. It’s sickening. The recent agreement’s limits were just that: limits, not mandates. They are part and parcel of the same agreement that calls for another $1.5 trillion in savings. There is no reason, not on God’s green Earth, that some of that $1.5 trillion can’t come from domestic discretionary appropriations, even in advance of any deal reached by the “supercommittee.” Any additional savings achieved through the appropriations process this fall will only make the supercommittee’s job easier. And, of course, there remains so much incredible, unfathomable, indefensible waste in domestic discretionary spending that it makes no sense to put further savings from that area out of bounds. As a matter of fact, I have long argued that it is on individual Approps bills, where individual extravagances can be focused on and highlighted, that the best, least politically dangerous, most politically advantageous case can be made for cutting spending. The fight over the omnibus bill in the spring, halfway through the year, was not the best time to fight. Nor was the debt ceiling the best place to draw a line in the sand, although (thanks to John Boehner, whose achieved far more than conservatives give him credit for) that fight worked out better than I had feared.

But if Congress actually does its job and passes Approps bills one by one, in plenty of time, rather than throwing everything into a massive omnibus bill, then it becomes far easier to make the case for individual cuts.

Cantor’s advice here is the advice of a capitulator. It is disgusting. I am not advocating another “to-the-cliff” battle, but rather a series of carefully chosen skirmishes, all on behalf of the taxpayer.

Shame on Cantor.

August 9th, 2011 at 11:52 am
Debt Ceiling Deal Sets Limits, Not Mandates

There will be much more to say on this in weeks to come, but here’s an absolutely essential thought for conservatives in Congress: The discretionary spending numbers mentioned in the debt-ceiling deal are upper limits. They do not require so much money to be spent; they only ensure that no more than those limits can be spent. My understanding is that the House has six Appropriations bills outstanding. On all six bills, it should approve significantly less than the limits allow. If conservatives choose their cuts carefully, the left will be forced to explain why, in a time of a ratings downgrade, they want to spend more money on bridges to nowhere, museums for silly things, programs that don’t work, and bureaucrats who won’t work. Get the bills done quickly; avoid a massive “omnibus bill” where so many items get wrapped in all at once that the details of lefty largess get lost. But keep on cutting and saving, saving and cutting. Keep the pressure on, for limited government and for freedom.