In a post on 9/29 titled "The 'Secret Playbook' for Congress' Budget Battle" made during the recent Continuing Resolution fight -- former Congressman Ernest Istook noted the Senate's attempt of secretly trying to waive the promised budget cuts of 2011 made in exchange for raising the debt ceiling at that time....
To start, Friday’s 68-30 Senate vote “waived the provisions” (Congress-speak for “broke the promises”) of the budget rules. The 2011 budget deal promised spending cuts in exchange for adding over $2 trillion to the debt ceiling.
Now Senators voted to free themselves from that 2011 promise. Expect them to offer new promises (to be broken at some future date) to justify another increase in the debt limit.
The Senate vote went mostly unnoticed because reporters focused instead on the vote on cloture. Every Democrat, aided by 12 Republicans, approved the waiver of budget rules; the roll call is online here.
While the vote for the above amended Senate CR did not pass the House, this attempt shows it is clear Congress is willing to waive any previous promised spending cuts. It should also be noted that Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) was one of the 12 GOP Senators that supported waiving the promised budget cuts made in 2011.
With that failure to waive the promised cuts, and now as we move closer to the deadline, we see both sides getting nervous and looking for a way around the promised cuts....
From AFP --
With the next fiscal crisis looming right after the holidays, members of Congress have an opportunity to live up to their agreements on getting federal spending under control. The House-Senate budget conference committee has a deadline of December 13 to find an agreement on spending for the rest of the 2014 fiscal year. Conferees and their colleagues in Congress should pass legislation at an overall spending level of $967 billion.
Despite agreeing to cut future spending in the Budget Control Act of 2011, many members of Congress are calling for passing legislation that exceeds the BCA spending caps. Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski claimed on the Senate floor that these spending levels would be “devastating to our economy and to the functioning of government.”
Capping spending is important because it will start to bring the country on a fiscally sustainable path and reduce the burden on future generations. Unfortunately, Congress is poised to continue its troubling trend of unchecked spending and empty promises. The Senate budget resolution adheres to spending levels at $1.058 trillion, and the versions of the Continuing Resolution that Congress considered previous to the government shut down in October was at a $986 billion level. Both of these proposals break the agreed-upon spending caps.
The danger in passing legislation that exceeds $967 billion, as congressional appropriators would like to do, is that it would sent the message that elected officials in Washington are not serious about cutting spending. It would convey that Congress is happy to talk the talk on cutting spending, but when the votes come up, it doesn’t walk the walk.
Passing legislation exceeding $967 billion would also bring another round of sequester cuts beginning in January. Planning to spend more than the spending cap while relying on sequester to bring the levels down automatically is irresponsible budgeting and unrealistic. By no means is this to say that we should get rid of sequester, however—sequester is the best tool we have right now in keeping federal spending in check. Conservatives fought hard for sequester, and they should fight hard to keep it in place. Although a targeted approach to cutting spending would be better than an across-the board approach, keeping federal spending in check should be a top priority.
No more empty promises. Congress should live up to its agreement by passing a continuing resolution funding government at $967 billion spending level.
As the Spineless Speaker, John Boehner (202)225-6205, has the unique ability to negotiate himself out of a free lunch at a Soup Kitchen and failed on his promise to stand strong against Obamacare, it is of the utmost importance that conservative groups remain vigilant in our chorus of - No More Empty Promises!