Driving the Week: Budget, Spending and Politics
It’s decision time for Washington: cut spending or maintain the status quo. Even as attention begins to shift towards the House Republican’s budget proposal, negotiations continued over the weekend on a measure to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Here are the three key issues:
- How much to cut. Six weeks ago, House Republicans passed H.R.1, which would have funded the government and cut $61 billion in spending. To date, President Obama and Senate Democrats have yet to offer – let alone pass – a real alternative. According to some Democrats, negotiators have settled on $33 billion in cuts.
- Policy riders. H.R.1 also blocked numerous big-government initiatives, including Obamacare, harmful EPA regulations and many more. There appears to be no agreement on which of these riders will be accepted.
- Entitlements. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and others are suggesting the spending cuts should come from so-called mandatory spending, or entitlements. Addressing entitlements is absolutely critical, though it is a separate issue from discretionary spending and only intended to confuse onlookers.
And then there are our troops. As Heritage Action’s CEO wrote on Townhall.com today, “putting political gain ahead of our troops is pretty crass, but it seems some are prepared to do it.” If a spending bill is not complete this week, our troops will continue to fight and serve honorably, but they will not be paid. At the very least, Congress should pass and the President should sign the defense spending contained in H.R.1.