Good morning everyone. It looks like the House Republican leadership is planning on a new round of hostage taking stunts for next year's budget fight. Not happy with the crushing cuts they enacted through the last budget “deal,” the House GOP is looking to ram through a new round of crazy cuts aiming straight at health, labor and education programs. The New York Times reports this morning on the. The New York Times reports GOP’s latest plans to hold our government hostage (emphasis added):
While the net reduction in spending is $30 billion, the impact on many domestic programs would be much more pronounced because the Pentagon received a $17 billion increase in its budget. Committee officials said spending that was not related to security would decrease by about $46 billion. The overall proposal is $121.5 billion less than what President Obama sought in his original budget this year. Labor, health and education programs, a priority of the president and Congressional Democrats, would be cut by $18.2 billion, coming in at $41 billion less than the amount recommended by the White House.
Representative Norm Dicks of Washington State, the top Democrat on the spending panel, assailed the Republican proposal as irresponsible, saying it would necessitate “draconian” cuts to college aid, early childhood education, food safety, law enforcement, public health and national infrastructure.
“It’s clear from what we’re seeing in the economy that if these cuts were enacted, they would lead to a severe setback for economic growth by shedding more government jobs and further depressing state and local government spending,” Mr. Dicks said.
At a time when the pace of our country’s ongoing economic recovery is fragile, the relentless drive towards cutting and slashing our budget is nothing short of crazy and delusional. The increase in defense spending is also a classic touch of House Republican brand of crazy. I mean even Defense Secretary Robert Gates – Bush II appointed Republican - supports strategic cuts in Pentagon’s budget.
One would think with the huge majority of Americans looking for US to end the war Afghanistan following the death of bin Laden, this would be the perfect time to look for strategic cuts in our defense budget. But the extreme, tone deaf House GOP leadership will apparently have none of that. They have no desire to represent the wishes of the majority of Americans and instead they want to go alone with the dogmatic, extreme right wing ideology of killing the government with no concern whatsoever with regards to how to serve our communities.
As for the Democrats, this morning we are reading report of the President urging the Democratic Senate leadership to be “flexible” in the upcoming debt-ceiling “debate” with the House Republicans. The President does not want our party leaders to draw the proverbial lines in the sand. I agree with the President on this. I think drawing lines in the sand are essentially meaningless. Anyone can draw lines in the sand. The question always becomes where exactly is that line being drawn.
We do not need our President and the Congressional Democratic Leadership to push out press releases and sound bites boldly drawing lines in the sand. We don’t need them blustering in public. Yet at the same time we there is no need for them to send hapless signals of flexibility and “bipartisanship” to make the villagers blush. What we need from them is to ensure they do not compromise on our core Democratic principles. We also need them to not operate under the illusion that they are dealing with a set of Republican leadership who can be trusted. As Karoli and Digby pointed out yesterday that is just a pipe dream.