Saturday, April 9, 2011

America Wins With The Congressional Budget Compromise

With less than two hours to go before an April 8th midnight deadline, congress finally was able to reach an agreement on the budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.  The Senate approved the stopgap measure by 11:20 last night and the House followed suit after midnight.  A memo was thus released saying that government operations were to continue normally and that a shut down had indeed been averted.

The money for funding the government for all of 2011 thus far has been accomplished by a series of continuing resolutions passed by congress as the Democratically-controlled House and Senate failed to pass a federal budget for 2011 last year, as per their constitutional obligations.  It has been reasonably speculated that a budget was not passed then because of the seeming inability of Democrats to refrain from placing excessive spending riders into the budget, and the corresponding political hay that the Republicans would make of their imprudence during the run-up to the 2010 mid-term elections last year.  Evidently, the Democrats might as well have gone for broke with the pork laden budget they wanted, as they lost in near historic levels in the House and also nearly gave up control of the Senate to boot due to angry voter turn-out that was captured with the rise of the Tea Party.

In the compromise reached last night between Speaker John Boehner’s House of Representatives and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s senate, $38 Billion will be cut from the remaining expenditures from the 2011 budget.  This is significantly less than the original $61 Billion wanted by the G.O.P. members of congress, but was substantially more than the original $6 Billion offered by Democrats.

In some of the major sticking points with the Democrats, the House Republicans had attached two additional riders to the budget bill calling for the elimination of certain Environmental Protection Agency powers regarding  the Clean Air Act.  The Republican members also restructured a budget rider that rather than cut all federal funds for Planned Parenthood, would take the money given to it and other family planning organizations and give it to state health departments to spread at their discretion. Presumably, states controlled by Republican legislatures would choose not to give that money to Planned Parenthood, in order to reduce federal tax-payer dollars being spent on abortions.  This rider was summarily scrapped in the compromise with Harry Reid and the Democrats.

The Republicans were, however, able to get passed the restriction of Washington D.C. taxpayer monies to no longer be used for abortion services within the district.  Further, and more significantly, the Republicans in their compromise were able to secure a promise from Harry Reid to allow and bring up a vote in the senate for the two failed riders to defund Planned Parenthood of federal tax payer dollars altogether, and to repeal funding for the inaccurately named Affordable Health Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.  These two items are huge, as Harry Reid had refused to even allow a vote in the senate on these items for fear of possible passage by Republican Senators and some of their fellow  nervous Democrat colleagues previously.

The next two big showdowns will come when the debate begins in putting together the federal budget for fiscal year 2012, which begins this October 1st, and the federal debt limit which the government will reach this summer, if congress fails to act.  Representative Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican and Budget Committee chairman, unveiled his party’s 2012 budget that would cut $5.8 trillion over the next decade by reshaping popular programs like Medicare.  This is sure to cause a gargantuan fight with congressional Democrats who are loathe to reduce spending this much and are sure to demonize Republicans as wanting to hurt the poor and minorities with such “extreme” cuts, as Senator Chuck Schumer has already instructed Democrats to use such rhetoric.

All in all, this seems to be a net win for the Republicans and most importantly for Americans.  No longer is the debate in congress about how much to spend, but rather on how much spending needs to be cut.  The terms of the fight have changed and we are moving in the right direction finally.  As the brilliant freshman Florida Representative Alan West said in an interview this morning, “it takes five miles to turn an aircraft carrier”.  He is right, and while things are moving slower than many of us conservatives and libertarians would like, the ship of state is indeed finally making that turn to head in the right direction!


J. Marquis said...

"Presumably, states controlled by Republican legislatures would choose not to give that money to Planned Parenthood, in order to reduce federal tax-payer dollars being spent on abortions".

Federal tax-payer dollars aren't used for abortions. The Hyde Amendment prevents that.

Matt@StBlogustine said...

And yet with the $360 million Planned Parenthood gets, it can use other funds once earmarked for other services for abortion instead. Shifting funds around is easy and legal. To ignore this is naive at best.

T, I learned of the silver linings of the budget compromise only on your blog. Everyone else considers it a total bust, and won't admit to anything positive. Thanks for keeping it honest.

Two things bother me though: first, I thought the Republicans started at cuts of $100 mil, and compromised on $60 mil within the party. If so, this would be poor bargaining to settle in the 30's. Second, since Bush (41) got tricked with broken budgetary promises by Dems, I haven't had much faith in Dem promises. I expect Reid will also prove a liar when all is said and done, and no such votes will take place until 2013, IF our side gains total control in Congress.

free0352 said...

Federal tax-payer dollars aren't used for abortions. The Hyde Amendment prevents that.

So what you're saying Jim is that the Federal Government doesn't give money to planned parenthood - OR - that planned parenthood doesn't do abortions.

Well, we all know that's false. So, what you must be trying to imply, is that while PP DOES do abortions, they don't use federal money to do them.

Well, you're wrong.

T. Paine said...

Jim, both Matt and Free are correct in their explanation of Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is the biggest abortion franchise in America. One in ten of its clients receive abortion. Indeed, 97% of pregnant women clients receive abortions. 2008 stats show that for pregnant women, 324,000 of them receieved abortions, while only 2,405 received advice for adoption. 9,433 received pre-natal care. So of all of the services that Planned Parenthood offers to pregnant wommen, approximately 97% are abortions.

While the Hyde Amendment does prohibit federal funds being earmarked specifically for abortions, Matt is right that the funding for this infanticidal organization is such that if a significant part of their budget is paid for by taxpayers, then that lessens the strain on the other non-federal budget dollars they have that can be used for abortion.

Indeed, when one thinks of Planned Parenthood, probably the word most associated with it that immediately comes to mind is abortion.

The federal government has no business funding this group's other functions so that it can use its other budgetary monies to perform abortions, which brings in HUGE revenues to this evil organization.

John Myste said...

Mr. Paine,

I take it your argument is that 3% of PP budget covers 97% of their actual services?

Jon Kyl admitted that his claim that over 90% of PPs budget was abortions was bogus.

I wish I had more time to devote to this post. The token budget cuts may do real-world damage. I do not yet know what they are. If they are cutting services for the poor, that means that the poor are paying for a token amount of our budget problem, and for them, this is a big deal, not a token.

If we have decided that the homeless, the sick, the elderly, will be the ones burdened with solving this budget crisis, we made a poor decision. I reject your notion that raising revenue will not better solve the problem than using token austerity and prayer.

I simply don't have the bandwidth to debate this right now, after defending your stance on Evolution zapped all my time. It is unfortunate.

Defending goofy republican ideas is certainly a full time job, but I am up for the task.

By the way, Politifact agrees with Jon Kyl, that abortions are a small percentage of what PP does:


John Myste said...

My long comment is in your damn spam filter.

Randy S. Jones, Esq. said...

The debate here about Planned Parenthood misses the point. The Congress has no Constitutional Authority to give the organization one penny. Therefore, it must be stopped for that reason alone. Whether or not it is an abortion mill is unimportant when it comes to funding.

I would add that NPR falls into this same category along with all those medical programs that government is paying for today. Do we just shut medical programs down? No! We phase them out over time because promises were made, so we have to fix it. NPR should be set free tomorrow.

The biggest problem I have with the Ryan budget is it does nothing about these unconstitutional programs. The second biggest problem is it increases funding of the military. The spending on defense is 800 billion dollars a year. That is more than all the world added up together. Can anyone justify this? I doubt it with a straight face. Currently, we spend around 250 billion dollars on defense of 100 countries. That is crazy. Europe, Asia, and Iraq can defend themselves. If we walked from Iraq and all foreign countries except for Afghanistan we save 350 billion dollars a year. We should also pull out of Afghanistan and fight a special forces war. That saves another 100 billion dollars a year plus lots of lives.

The bottom line is you can't talk about balancing the budget when you won't get rid of programs that fall outside of the 18 enumerated powers in the Constitution. You can't balance the budget while spending 800 billion dollars a year on defense. Ryan's budget is not enough. You should look to Rand Paul's which eliminates whole unconstitutional departments. That is the way to balance a budget not through Marxist Democrats' ways or Big Government Republican ways.

T. Paine said...

Ultimately, Randy is right here. We are arguing about the trees and missing the forest. Ultimately, the government should not be funding things such as NPR, PBS, Planned Parenthood, etc.

And yes, John, I understand that according to Planned Parenthoods questionable documentation that abortions only make up 3% of their "services". Personally that is 3% too much, regardless of whether it is funded by my tax payer dollars or not. :)

John Myste said...

Mr. Paine,

It was not your tax dollars. They paid for .0000000000001 percent of the ear in Iraq. It was the single mothers making 14k per year that paid for planned parenthood.

Now you may rest.

T. Paine said...

Never! I refuse to relent! ;)

Randy S. Jones, Esq. said...

Single mothers making under 14k a year pay no federal income tax. The actually get an earned income tax credit of around $2300. The earned income tax credit was Reagan's idea and I would add the Top 1% of earners pay 40% of the income tax to the federal government. Therefore, those single mothers are not contributing anything to the war effort or to Planned Parenthood.

John Myste said...


I did not consult the tax tables before I used my hyperbole. I carried my exaggeration too far, but my point is still valid.

As for Ronald Reagan, he was a good moderate, wasn’t he? He certainly was not the “Reagan Conservative” conservatives worship.

T. Paine said...

Actually, with all of the class warfare nonsense going on, this is the inevitable result of it all.

The fact of the matter is that the tax burden of the top 1% exceeds that of the bottom 95% as per the non-partisan

(A statistic that I am sure you will never here a staunch Democrat or anybody in the Obama adminstration ever acknowledge.)

I suspect Obama, Reid, and Pelosi will not be satisfied until the top 1% pays 100% of the tax burden, which realistically seems to be their goal.

free0352 said...

I take it your argument is that 3% of PP budget covers 97% of their actual services?

No what he's saying is that 3% funds a hell of a lot of abortions. Not to mention carries on the racist, eugenic agenda of PP. I don't think tax dollars should go to exterminate the black race. Also, as was said- it's not what our federal government should be doing.

John Myste said...

Free, you have now made the most ridiculous comment I have seen from you to date.

Most of what republicans spend money on is not something I would fund and you lied about PP mission.

Thank you for the discussion

T. Paine said...

Indeed, funding Planned Parenthood regardless of whether they do one or 300,000 abortions a year is not the point. The federal government has no place funding this organization at all.