In the world according to House Speaker, John Boehner (R-OH), the $4 billion in federal spending cuts that accompanied the two-week Continuing Resolution (CR) allowing the government to stay in business was a good start.
In fact his office released the following statement; “Yesterday, the House passed a temporary budget stopgap that cuts $4 billion in spending and keeps the government running for two weeks. With the March 4th budget deadline looming, we passed these meaningful cuts because Washington’s ongoing spending binge is destroying jobs, and we refuse to pile on trillions more in debt on the backs of our kids and grandkids."
It was hard for Tea Party activists and tax advocacy groups to share in Boehner’s optimism. “The $4 billion in cuts are a joke,” says Gary Gonsalves M.D. and co-founder of Stop Taxing Us.
“There are no more excuses for politicians not to enact meaningful spending cuts. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) just released a report earmarking $200 billion in wasteful spending each year,” he pointed out.
Boehner’s email continued to place the blame on all politicians because neither party has made a real effort to curtail spending habits. “Instead, Congress has continuously passed irresponsible spending bills, such as the ‘stimulus’ bill, that have left us with even higher debt and fewer jobs,” Boehner said. However, he failed to acknowledge that he was a big part of Congress for the past 20 years.
Boehner contends Republicans will now live up to their word because they penned the document Pledge to America, which didn’t receive much fanfare, but promise to take action to reduce government spending and create jobs.
However, Tea Party groups across the nation are skeptical that the GOP will fall in line with the landslide mandate elections. “Our political movement will mobilize in 2012 and we will vote accordingly. Those in D.C. shouldn’t get too comfortable because they will be voted out if they don’t change their drunken-sailor spending habits,” Gonsalves said.
When asked about Congress’ ability to change their ways and reign in spending Gonsalves said “I really think it will take a government shutdown to see any real change in Washington.”
Nevertheless the newly-minted GOP leader says they “will continue to stand firm, insisting on real spending cuts and reforms so we can help create an environment that allows for private sector job growth and protects future generations from the burden of unsustainable debt.”
According to a GAO report, the U.S. government has more than 100 transportation programs, 82 programs dealing with teacher quality, 80 programs looking at economic development, 47 job training programs, 20 programs devoted to homelessness and 17 different disaster preparedness grant programs. The list goes on and on.
The report concluded that, “Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of taxpayer dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services.” Government officials said merging or terminating these overlapping programs would save several billion dollars per year. “These are the changes Tea Party groups are looking for,” Gonsalves says.
The GAO study was authorized last year when Congress wanted to raise the federal debt ceiling.
“This report will make us look like jackasses," said Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) who sponsored the amendment requiring the GAO report.
Gonsalves said that is one statement he can agree with.
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