House Republicans Surrender to Democrats on Latest Continuing Resolution
by Rudy Cajka on March 15, 2011 at 9:43 AM
Do House Republicans Really Want to Cut the Federal Budget?
This past Friday (3/11/2011), House Republicans unveiled yet another Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the federal government running for three more weeks. To their credit, the Republicans did include budget cuts of approximately $6 Billion, continuing their planned overall cut of the original $61 Billion in cuts from the March 4, 2011 CR. Ostensibly, this new CR is designed to give the House and Senate more time to negotiate the federal spending levels of a new CR that would run until the end of the fiscal year.
The real facts here are that both House and Senate Republicans are being played for fools by Senate Democrats and President Obama. This new CR is a total capitulation by Republicans who seem to be terrified that if they don’t give in, a government shutdown will occur for which Republicans will be blamed. Witness this statement made by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) who said he didn’t want the bill to contain language defunding public broadcasting or Planned Parenthood, which were included in the long-term CR passed by the House, because “it would run into trouble in the Senate”. If that isn’t a complete surrender to the Democrats, I don’t know what is. Rogers has further stated that “a government shutdown is not an option, period”, stating that he and the House Republican leadership are removing the most potent weapon they have from this budget fight.
What Budget Cuts Does this CR Actually Contain?
The new House proposed CR contains a number of budget cuts for programs that were already destined to be cut in the President’s new 2012 budget. It also contains a number of cuts in programs where money was appropriated but not yet spent and also cuts from a number of earmarks that most members of Congress had already agreed should be cut. In other words, these are not serious budget cuts and designed primarily to appease the Senate Democrats and to ensure that they won’t put up a fight against this insignificant CR bill.
What is more interesting are the items that this CR does not address. For example:
- No cuts in funding for ObamaCare
- No cuts for Planned Parenthood No cuts for the National Endowment for the Arts
- No significant cuts for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
- No mention of eliminating the automatic funding for ObamaCare
In fact, the CR contains substantial funding for all of these programs that conservatives want to eliminate. Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) had said he didn’t want the bill to contain language defunding public broadcasting or Planned Parenthood, which were included in the long-term CR passed by the House, because it would run into trouble in the Senate. Clearly, the Republican Leadership in the House has no stomach for a real budget fight with the Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said “I am glad that we were able to come to an agreement with Republicans on a three-week continuing resolution made up of cuts already proposed by Democrats that will also be free of any ideological, special-interest legislation.” Clearly, a victory statement by Senate Democrats!
Can House GOP Freshmen Defeat this Continuing Resolution?
Hopefully, led by Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), most of the House GOP freshmen will be motivated to vote against this CR this coming week. It’s also likely that numerous Democrats will vote against the bill, as most of the House Democrats are in favor of even more government spending and debt. Heritage Action, the Club for Growth and the Family Research Council are also on record for opposing this bill.
If enough conservatives are able to put pressure on House Republicans to vote against this bill, we may even see the spectacle of Speaker Boehner and the House Republican leadership begging Democrats to vote for the bill, to save the country from a “government shutdown”.
I would urge everyone to call their congressman to vote against this bill (H.J. Res 48). Just call your Congressman and tell his office that you are against the new CR – H.J. Res 48 and you want him/her to vote against it.
The Future for Spending Cuts and the National Debt Limit
If this CR is eventually passed, there will be one after another of these meaningless bills passed until the year is over, with no significant spending cuts having been made. All that we will have to show for this year are a few meaningless cuts in un-appropriated funds and in programs that Obama had planned to cut anyway.
If Republicans can’t confront Democrats today over the remaining $57 Billion of cuts in this year’s budget, do we expect any show of strength when the $14.4 Billion Debt Limit increase comes up for a vote later in the year? That’s very doubtful, at best. It’s becoming clear to me that the House Republican leadership will roll over easily when that debt ceiling vote comes up. I hope and expect that conservative organizations, the TEA Party and rank and file conservatives are preparing now for a massive push to get Republicans to extract a substantial price for their support of a debt limit increase. However, from what I am seeing today from Republicans, I don’t hold out a lot of hope.