AP: Details of last week’s hard-won agreement to avoid a government shutdown and cut federal spending by $38 billion were released Tuesday morning. They reveal that the budget cuts, while historic, were significantly eased by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway.
Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs – Pell grants for poor college students, health research and “Race to the Top” aid for public schools, among others – from Republican knives.
..As a result of the legerdemain, Obama was able to reverse many of the cuts passed by House Republicans in February when the chamber approved a bill slashing this year’s budget by more than $60 billion. In doing so, the White House protected favorites like the Head Start early learning program, while maintaining the maximum Pell grant of $5,550 and funding for Obama’s “Race to the Top” initiative that provides grants to better-performing schools.
Instead, the cuts that actually will make it into law are far tamer, including cuts to earmarks, unspent census money, leftover federal construction funding, and $2.5 billion from the most recent renewal of highway programs that can’t be spent because of restrictions set by other legislation. Another $3.5 billion comes from unused spending authority from a program providing health care to children of lower-income families.
…conservatives are upset that most conservative policy “riders” added by Republicans were dropped from the legislation in the course of the talks.
The White House rejected GOP attempts to block the EPA’s ability to issue global warming rules and other reversals of environmental regulations. Obama also forced Republicans to drop an effort to cut off Planned Parenthood from federal funding, as well as GOP moves to stop implementation of Obama’s overhauls of health care and Wall Street regulation.
The administration also thwarted a GOP attempt to block new rules governing the Internet, as well as a National Rifle Association-backed attempt to neuter a little-noticed initiative aimed at catching people running guns to Mexican drug lords by having regulators gather information on batch purchases of rifles and shotguns.
Steve Benen: Today is the first day we’ve been able to get a good look at exactly what spending cuts are included in the new budget deal. We’ve been working with the larger, top-line numbers since late last week, but without a sense of what the specific cuts are going to be.
….does this mean the actual budget cuts won’t be quite as brutal as we thought when the deal was struck on Friday night? Actually, yes, that’s pretty much what it means. The AP’s report echoes this point.
..It turns out, a lot of the cuts related to money that wasn’t going to be spent (leftover Census money, for example), eliminating programs that were set to expire, and not repeating expenditures intended to be one-time infusions anyway.
Maybe it’s time to revisit the assumption that the Obama White House got rolled.
The People’s View: So Friday night, a government shutdown was averted. And already, you have people in some big orange “progressive” places melting themselves down over how that aversion was a loss for progressives and how President Obama gave in to billions more in cuts. So let’s look at what we know about the deal, what Barack Obama’s negotiating skills gave us…
Let’s start looking at it from the perspective of core Democratic values … the Republicans’ effort to defund family planning blew up in their faces, and President Obama and the Democrats protected this much needed service for poor and middle class women and families….
… The Republicans wanted to block any money from going to implement health care reform, and guess what? They didn’t get that either. And that is a big deal. Although probably the likes of Uygur would have liked health reform to be defunded (so they could claim Pyhrric victory over the failure of an un-implemented law that did not carry his favorite pony item)…
…What else? The environment. Democrats have successfully kept the Republican “EPA riders” out of the budget deal. You know, the same riders that would have told the EPA, in essence, “Carbon di-oxide is not a pollutant, you can’t regulate it!” Politico calls this a major victory for Democrats…
…Not bad, I’ll say. Three pretty big progressive policy initiatives were saved from the Republican axe. Remind me why some of the people who claim to be progressives are whining about this again? …
….how about the screaming idiots on the professional left didn’t take dumps all over the President’s initiatives in the first two years, under the guise of purity politics? How about they hadn’t helped along a depressed Democratic turnout? How about if they had actually helped do proper analysis and sell the benefits of health reform, financial reform, credit card reform, student loan reform, women’s pay legislation, among a myriad of other things? How about they didn’t help turn the House over to the Republicans wholesale?…
…we are laying in a bed that the whiny Left made for us together with the teabagging Right. It’s their own making. What we are looking for are solutions within that framework now. It didn’t have to be this way, but it is. What President Obama needs is for progressives to get his back when he’s fighting for our environment, for women, and for health care in a toxic, hostile Washington, DC…
So please, before you go off the rail with Daily Kos, FDL, Ed Schultz or Cenk Uygur, please do some thinking, and some fact finding. Cool the nerves. Calm down. And read. Then make your own judgments. I think you’ll be more pleased than you think.
Yes, I heroically ventured in to Teabagger land again:
Just go away, Boehner. Thanks for handing zero and Reid a victory so they can parade about on TV. Grow a pair, you weakling.
Is anyone up for helping to Primary Boehner?
Boehner is history!!! They agreed to kill babies. VOTE NO!!!!
What’s that rumbling in the distance??? RUN!! It’s a Boehner CAVE IN!!
now that the dems know all they have to do is threaten a government shutdown and Boehner will tear-up, and cave in.
If Bachmann will cave to harry Reid, how can anyone expect her to stand up to Al Qaeda?
John Boohoo is done. He’s public enemy number 2 next to any democrat. Well, maybe he’s just “number 2”. Either way…done.
I’m becoming more convinced we need Trump.
When Obama told John Boehner, your eyes are so deep and John started crying and agreed for deal.
Its OVER. These crap heads cant even win a little battle. We must purge them from our party. We must defeat Boehner in his next election. This is the crap that lead to this revolution and they did not get the message. They will get the message now. This is a horrible cave in!!!
The Democrats are laughing at Boehner.
Boner is a spineless, gutless eunuch. I called his office a week or so ago and got one of his young, arrogant snots who made it clear that he didn’t care to hear comments.
Yet once again the Republicans have caved, just like the Gingrich Republicans caved in ‘94. Meet the new scumbags, same as the old scumbags.
Boner can go cry himself to sleep! What a pussy! I am ashamed of these LOOZAH’S
Boehner is political toaste. I will pay money to his republican challenger in a primary.
Boehner cried, and babies died.
The reports I have read said there are about $38.5 billion in cuts. Whoopee.
I’m not sure I want to go to battle if the Republicans have my back.
Did the Republicans win ANYTHING?
The Tea Party won’t be wiping his tears. He can cry when he realizes We The People want him to resign and let a real man take over.
Barack has now came one step closer to be our king. Shame on us.
I just tried calling Boners office and the message box is full, naturally. I did send a scathing email.
How long will God have mercy on a corrupt nation?
Bachman said she was going after the 105 billion hidden obamacare money. What happened there? NADA. nothing Zilch.
Obama’s approval rating just went up ten points. Take a bow, Boner. Way to make the man not have to break a sweat
MSNBC: As the debate raged in Washington over a budget to keep the government from shutting down, the issue of abortion funding was consistently in the spotlight.
….when Boehner asked for the elimination of funds for Title X – spending for women’s health and family planning organizations that also provide abortion services – the aide said the president flatly refused.
The President replied, “Nope. Zero.”
Boehner continued to push to discuss the funds, the aide recalled.
The President repeated: “Nope. Zero.”
“‘John, this is it,’” the aide described the president as saying. “‘This is it, John.”
There was a long pause as no one spoke in the Oval Office.
The Planned Parenthood issue was resolved that Thursday night.
CNN: … The White House was feeling optimistic that it was on the verge of a deal Thursday night. John Boehner and Harry Reid left the Oval Office meeting, “there was kind of an agreement on a range and agreement on the kind of composition,” said one of five officials who briefed reporters.
But by three or four o’clock in the morning Friday, the officials described a breakdown … “There was a higher number,” said one official, “north of $80 billion dollars. There was also renewed talk about family planning.
As sharp verbal punches were thrown throughout the day on Capitol Hill, the White House kept silent. The president never made any public statements and spokesman Jay Carney never held his daily briefing. That was not by accident…
It was a “directive from him [president],” one official said. The idea was to stay out of sight, avoid finger pointing, and allow negotiators to work out a compromise.
…”Every time the process seemed to get bogged down the president picked up the phone and made clear that we had a responsibility to the American people…that we shouldn’t play politics. He did not want this to become a family planning bill he wanted it to be a spending bill”…
…on Friday the president spoke by phone with House Speaker Boehner four times. He also spoke with Senate majority leader Reid “multiple times”…
During one of the Oval Office meeting this week, one of the officials described how the president went through every controversial rider that Republicans wanted …In describing the tone of these meetings one official said “at no point did the discussions in the room get personal”. The president never scolded Boehner for public comments that appeared to contradict what was being discussed in private negotiations….
Neither side wanted a government shutdown, but the president wasn’t willing to give ground on allowing the controversial family planning rider to be part of the deal. “…we just were not going to move on this”…
….So what forced the deal? “The clock probably played the most important factor,” said one of the officials. With the clock winding down Rob Nabors, the President’s Legislative Affairs Director, was on the Hill, kept the White House informed throughout the negotiation process and signaled that a deal had been reached. It was White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley who informed the president around 10:30pm.
Politico: Michele Bachmann voted against a short-term bill to keep the government running while a negotiated budget package moves through Congress. Bachmann says the larger deal, which includes $39 billion in spending cuts, and has garnered wide support among the Republican Conference, is a “disappointment.”
“The deal that was reached tonight is a disappointment for me and for millions of Americans who expected $100 billion in cuts, who wanted to make sure their tax dollars stopped flowing to the nation’s largest abortion provider, and who wanted us to defund ObamaCare,” Bachmann said in a release. “Instead, we’ve been asked to settle for $39 billion in cuts, even as we continue to fund Planned Parenthood and the implementation of ObamaCare. Sadly, we’re missing the mandate given us by voters last November, and for that reason I voted against the Continuing Resolution.”
Mark Meckler (co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots) tells CNN, “In February the government incurred a historic high $233 Billion deficit. Last night, at best, they agreed to cut $38.5 billion in spending over the next six months. Are we disappointed? We think those numbers speak for themselves. This country needs bold and visionary leadership, something that seems sorely lacking in those ‘leading’ today. The fight will continue in the days and months ahead, and Tea Party Patriots is in it for the long haul.”
Judson Phillips (head of the Tea Party Nation): “Can someone please tell me how this is anything other than John Boehner hauling up the white flag because he is unwilling to fight? Can anyone please tell me how this is anything but a complete victory for the liberal Democrats, who want to keep spending this country into bankruptcy and poverty?”
The Hill: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, applauded Speaker John Boehner’s work on a last-minute budget deal to avert a government shutdown, but he was not happy with the content of that deal. “We’re impressed with his effort, we just didn’t like the final product,” Jordan said.
Jordan said he expects “significant” opposition from conservatives, both to the short-term fix and the long-term spending bill. He said he will vote against both. He also expressed disappointment that a rider defunding Planned Parenthood hadn’t been inlcuded. “We wanted more advancement on the life issue,” Jordan said.
…Asked whether he’s disappointed that Republicans didn’t reach the $100 billion in cuts they pledged during the campaign season, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said he “would have loved to have a larger cut,” but noted the GOP controls only the House.
This might be why they’re not happy –
CNN: Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden beamed that Congress and the White House were circling around “$73 Billion” in budget cuts. But that’s not $73 Billion in real-people dollars. That’s $73 Billion in imaginary, government-speak dollars….
…The vice president’s “$73 Billion” in cuts, and the Republicans’ initial “$100 Billion” number, are both reductions from President Obama’s proposed 2010 budget, which was never passed. That’s the key point. That proposed, larger budget, never became reality.
It’s a bit like a college kid who asked his parents to buy him a car and was turned down, but who then tried to count the lack of a car as a “spending cut” the next year. The money was never allocated for spending in the first place.
…Politicians could theoretically argue that they are still “cutting” when they compare numbers to Obama’s proposed, theoretical, never-became-reality budget. But they are only cutting their own fantasy budget, on paper. It is not the same as cutting actual dollars that agencies expect to spend.
So, How Much is Really Being Cut? The “deal” announced by Biden would cut $33 Billion in actual, current spending. That’s how much of government agency’s expected budgets would be cut immediately if this plan wins out….
MSNBC (October 2010): Republican leaders, ever more confident of their chances of winning control of the House and possibly even the Senate, have begun plotting a 2011 agenda topped by a push for more than $100 billion in spending cuts, tax reductions and attempts to undo key parts of President Barack Obama’s health care and financial regulation laws.
National Journal: The likelihood of a war-time federal government shutdown – the first in American history – diminished dramatically on Friday night as all parties began reviewing, with the goal of approving, a broad array of cuts and a short-term bill to keep the government operating while the details are put into legislative language for full congressional action next week.
While leadership staff insist there is no deal yet, that caution belies significant progress in narrowing long-standing differences and the widening assumption in both parties that a shutdown will be averted and all that remains unknown is the precise procedural steps that will walk everyone back from the abyss.
Numerous GOP and Democratic sources on and off Capitol Hill tell National Journal that the outline of the deal is as follows: up to $39 billion in cuts from the 2010 budget, $514 billion in spending for the defense budget covering the remainder of this fiscal year, a GOP agreement to abandon controversial policy riders dealing with Planned Parenthood and the EPA, and an agreement to pass a “bridge” continuing resolution late Friday night to keep the government operating while the deal is written in bill form.