Thursday, March 17, 2011

Budget negotiations limp along for another 3 weeks

It’s been more than a year since lawmakers have proposed and approved an operational budget. Instead under Democratic leadership the budget process has been continued six times and still Congress in no closer to passing a spending plan.

However, freshman lawmakers decidedly made a decision to stop the nonsense and threw a wrench in the House vote by saying no to the continuing resolution extension this week.

Yesterday’s House vote played out this way; 54 freshman GOP lawmakers said the $6 billion in cuts were too small to make a difference and 104 Democrats said the $6 billion was more than the country could afford.

The U.S. currently owes more than $14 trillion and counting. The national deficit for February alone was $222.5 billion, or $7.9 billion per day, according to the Wall Street Journal. Also Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Egypt this week giving interim government officials a $2 billion check. Where is the money coming from? China? Taxpayers? Or a national credit card.

Looking at the current budget numbers, the proposed $6 billion in cuts demanded by the Republicans would only keep the federal government for 30 hours. However, if the GOP’s wish of $61 billion in cuts were granted the government could only operate for one week. Spending is a very big problem.

Nevertheless the House voted 271-158 in favor of a three-week stopgap spending measure that would allow the government to run through April 8.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) both urged completion of the longer-term bill, but both will leave D.C. for the scheduled week vacation.

“We get our guidance from our constituents and that’s why we need a week break to discuss the spending cuts Americans think Congress should be making,” Cantor said. “We hope and intend for this (continuing resolution) to be the last one.”

Holding his ground and GOP leaders accountable was freshmen Congressman Allen West (R-FL) who indicated that a government shutdown could actually be good for the budget debate.

“I will NOT be voting for another short term CR,” West tweeted. “There is a confrontation coming on this budget and the sooner we get to it the better.”

And that’s the adult conversation many Americans have been demanding.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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