Can anyone remember the heady days in the run up to the 2010 elections? Does anyone still remember the promises made about what would happen to the size of government and the profligate level of spending being condoned in Congress if the right people were sent to represent us? But we were going to show them, weren't we? We were going to send a bunch REPUBLICANS to the House of Representatives and turn the ship of state around. Rallying around their party battle cry, we were going to see $100 billion in spending cuts happen in the next budget if the GOP took control.
Well we gave the Grand Old Party their majority, at least in the House of Representatives, and what did we get in 2011 as a result? Well for starters we got a budget with proposed cuts of only $61 billion instead of the promised $100 billion. We were disappointed of course, but after all even a cut of $61 billion out of an annual budget of over $3.7 trillion was nothing to sniff at. (Actually it was, but we all choked down the bile, bit our tongues, and put the best face we could on it.)
That of course, was before this budget went to Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid was less than thrilled with the 'draconian cuts' that that Republicans in Congress were proposing. He refused even to bring a vote to the Senate floor on what was purported to be an annual budget cut of 1.6%, in spite of the fact that it still would have provided more being spent than the government had spent in 2010. (Some day, someone will have to explain the 'government-speak' that allows government to spend more than in the previous year and even use the word 'cut' in the sentence describing it, but there's no time for that today.)
In the end, the Senate agreed to allow a vote on a 'cut' of some $38 billion dollars for the 2011 federal budget. (Now we're down to a 1% cut, but $38 is kind of close to the original $100 billion, right?) But wait, we're not done yet.
According to an AP story in the Washington Post at the time, because of how long it took the House and Senate to reach an agreement and because the compromise reached for cuts was only on 'discretionary spending', the amount of the actual spending cut from the budget was in fact $352 million. For those of you unwilling or unable to do the math for yourselves, this meant that Republican control of the House was able to bring about a total federal budget reduction of .0095%. (Are you impressed yet?)
But that was then and this is now, right? Surely now that freshmen Republicans earned their spurs and learned a bit more how things are done in Congress, now that Ohio's own John Boehner is a bit more comfortable with his role as Speaker of the House; things would be different and real spending cuts will being made in 2012. Not so fast, my friends ...
In a story posted in REDSTATE.com today, budget cuts recently proposed in the House by Republicans are in fact being rejected (at least in part) by the Republican majority in that legislative body:
Chaffetz (R-UT) – Cuts the Advanced Manufacturing Program by $74 million, to FY 2011 levels. Rejected 140-245.
McClintock (R-CA) – Eliminates nuclear energy research subsidies (saves $514 million). Rejected 106-281.
Chabot (R-OH) – Eliminates funding for the regional commissions, such as the Appalachian Regional Commission (saves $99.3 million). Rejected 141-276.
Blackburn (R-TN) – Cuts 1% across the board (would cut $321 million). Rejected 157-261.
Mulvaney (R-SC) – Brings the bill toward RSC budget levels by cutting a total of $3.1 billion across almost all accounts. Rejected 125-293.
King (R-IA) – Prohibits funding of Davis-Bacon union wage requirements. Rejected 184-235.
Flake (R-AZ) – Across the board spending cut that would keep funding at FY 2012 levels ($87.5 million savings). Rejected 144-274."