Tuesday, January 4, 2011

House GOP to cut $100 billion?

Incoming House Majority Leader John Boehner is leading the charge to cut $100 billion from the domestic budget this year, reports the New York Times. The question is, where would the budget cuts come from? Military, domestic security, and veterans would be spared, but under the Republican plan, remaining federal programs would face savage cuts of about 20 percent this fiscal year. The $100 billion diet was part of a House GOP campaign pledge, but even Senate Republicans have backed away from such drastic cuts. Like many impending House Republican initiatives, its bark is worse than its bite – with the Senate still in the hands of Democrats and Obama retaining veto power, the budget-cutting vote is largely an act of political theater. The vote could give Republicans more bargaining power in their budget showdown with the White House this winter, however. For Democrats, the move to cut funding from education, transportation and scientific research could provide ammunition against Republicans in swing districts.

You know: I'm looking forward to this, actually. Maybe the House GOP can come up with $100 billion in cuts that won't be painful or set off an angry reaction. I doubt it. But if they do, more power to them. And coming up with an actual list of cuts will be useful: It's easy to campaign against spending when you're not talking about specifics. Showing your hand is a little more difficult.

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