Last night, House Rules Committee approved the rule for the passage of the Sandy spending package, and unfortunately the committee, which is controlled by Republican leadership, blocked most of the conservative amendments that were intended to cut or offset excessive spending. That so many good conservative amendments that included specific program cuts were left behind is a bad sign for a party that needs to get serious on spending.
The Heritage Foundation's Matt Mayer explains how small potential spending cuts will be and explains why Rep. Mick Mulvaney's (R-SC) amendment, while cutting a lot of spending, would have a negative effect on our defense budget:
Later today, the House will consider 12 amendments to the aid package. More than 90 amendments were submitted to the Rules Committee. Many, championed by conservatives, were targeted cuts and offsets as well as attempts to strip out superfluous spending. One, sponsored by Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), identified specific offsets to the Rogers bill but was not allowed to come to the floor. Instead, the Rules Committee allowed his amendment that would require an offset via across-the-board cuts of 1.63 percent to all discretionary appropriations in 2013.
This amendment-the only one allowed on the Rogers package-represents the strongest pushback House conservatives were permitted to launch against the tide of status quo spending. Yet while attempts at offsets should be applauded, these across-the-board cuts would strip around $9 billion out of the defense budget this year in addition to the $500 billion that would be potentially cut under sequestration, threatening to further enfeeble U.S. national security. The remaining 11 amendments, if passed, would reduce the $60.377 billion package to $60.2042 billion-not much in the grand scheme of things.
By excluding the vast majority of the more than 90 conservative amendments, leadership passed up an excellent opportunity to rein in excessive spending. Proponents of this out of control, unrelated spending act as though billions of dollars of pork are entirely necessary to help Sandy victims; however, as we've pointed out, most of the spending would not even happen until FY 2014.
Clearly, this has little to do with actually helping victims.
And don't be fooled when you hear that conservatives are holding up the process of helping those affected by Sandy. We're not the ones who want to weigh this legislation down with billions upon billions of dollars in unrelated deficit spending.
From the beginning, we've recognized the legitimacy of the federal government aiding victims of a national disaster that is truly national in scale. We will never concede that this aid bill is an appropriate place for spendthrift lawmakers' pork to hitch a ride - because it's not.