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House Cuts Deep Into Spending as Budget Battle Moves to Senate

4 years ago
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It took an all-nighter, but the Republican-dominated U.S. House, energized by an aggressive group of conservative freshmen, cut nearly $61 billion from current federal spending Saturday, setting up a budget showdown in the Senate where Democrats hold sway.

Final passage in the House of Representatives came just after 4:30 a.m. in a 235-189 party-line vote. The package, covering the seven months ending Oct. 1, included language that would end federal funding of Planned Parenthood and block money for implementation of the health care law.

But the Senate, which will start work on the bill early next month, is expected to push back against the more drastric reductions -- most of them coming from domestic programs. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid already called the cuts "draconian," according to the Washington Post. And President Obama -- who last year proposed a 2011 budget of $3.69 trillion -- has vowed to veto any legislation that cuts government operations to the bone.

Even so, in the early morning hours on Saturday, the day belonged to the House GOP's large, agressive group of first-term members, many of them elected with the help of the anti-government-spending tea party movement. The newly elected lawmakers pressured veteran Republican leaders for deeper cuts -- and they prevailed on some big-ticket items. In the end, not a single Democrat voted for the legislation.

Hours before the final roll call, House Speaker John Boehner hailed the budget-cutting process as "democracy in action."

On Friday, the decisions on controversial amendments came in quick succession after the House voted down a measure that would have taken billions of dollars more across the board from federal agencies.

A Planned Parenthood defunding amendment, sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), was the subject of three-plus hours of heated debate Thursday night, the Post said.

Denying government money for administration of the new health care reform law was another big victory for Republicans. The amendment offered by Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont.) would hold back federal funds during the remaining seven months of the 2011 fiscal year.

The tactic is an alternative to outright repeal of the law -- which remains extremely unpopular among Republicans. The GOP majority in the House approved repeal last month, but the bill failed in the Senate. The new bid to withhold taxpayer dollars from implementation of the health law is also bound to face a roadblock in the Senate, where Democrats are in the majority.

On Friday, the House shot down a measure sponsored by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) that would have trimmed $22 billion on top of $60 billion-plus in cuts already proposed by the GOP. More than 90 Republicans voted against the Jodan amendment, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California.

While the debate Friday was not strictly on party lines, the GOP was dead serious in its zeal to shrink the budget and shrink a deficit projected at more than $1.5 trillion in 2011. Speaker Boehner issued a strong message to the White House and Democratic lawmakers: go along with the GOP bill to cut the current 2011 budget, or risk a government shutdown on March 4 when a stopgap budget expires.

"I am not going to move any kind of short-term [measure] at current [spending] levels," Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

In the Senate, Democratic leaders prefer to approve another extension of the temporary funding measure while the two chambers work out their differences.

Some senators indicated they are willing to work with the GOP on making cuts in the 2011 spending plan. But the Democratic majority is certain to balk at some of the Republican-sponsored cuts -- leaving it unclear whether the chambers will be able to agree on something before the temporary funding measure expires and government runs out of money.

At its core, the House debate reflected a fundamental difference regarding the role of government in public life. Republicans wanted to demonstrate their conviction that Washington is inefficient, bloated and must be curtailed to create a more competitive economic climate. Democrats, in turn, have argued that government plays a vital role in regulation and safety, and that the services it provides are critical to ensuring a well-functioning society.

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I think Obama's saying that this new budget would cut government "to the bone" is hilarious. Bush got us into two wars which raised spending for the military practically two-fold. Obama spent almost a billion on a stimulus which only he and his supported say had any effect and they created a health care bill that, despite their protestations, will cost us a good deal of money and will raise the deficit. All those politicians make me sick. I think the Democrats still think that this debt and continued deficits are sustainable and will continue to think it even when Moody's and S&P lowers our credit rating and we have to pay more in interest and even when the dollars is no longer used as international currency. Americans have made hard choices to get through their particular crisis and it is time our governments-Federal, State and Municipal-did the same.

February 22 2011 at 10:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Why do the Republicans even get to have anything to do with this budget? It's for the tax year starting in 2010 when the Democrats controlled the Senate, House and White House. If they didn't want the Republicans involved why didn't they pass their own budget before January. They knew in November that the Republicans would be involved starting in January. If no compromise can be found it's 100% the Democrats fault since no compromise would of even been necessary a few months ago.

February 21 2011 at 4:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I LOL at the article's title...we haven't seen anything yet relative to cuts.

February 20 2011 at 6:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

After giving those huge tax cuts to the rich we now have a budget crisis and need to make big cuts in spending.

February 20 2011 at 5:43 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Mr. Diemer, before you use the adjective "deep" in your headline, use your calculator. Even $80 billion off a $3.69 TRILLION budget request is barely 2% of a number up over 25% from the 2006 budget. That is not what my journalism professor would call deep.

February 20 2011 at 5:06 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Why is the Greedy Old Party killing more jobs for AMERICAN WORKING FAMILIES?

February 20 2011 at 5:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Are all of you young republicans in the top 1%, or just stupid? Truly, the dumbest
generation in American history. By, the way, I am a registered independent voter--
No one tells me how to think, when to think, why to think-I DO IT FOR MYSELF! You kids should try it sometime-start by doing the math re; the federal deficit, the phoney multibillions$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ "IRAQ WAR, OCCUPATION AND REBUILDING. Do you all really want to work more to make less money???? DUH

February 20 2011 at 4:59 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

So Sad, The younger generation believes everything the GOP says, definitely
The Dumbest

The younger generation must be The Dumbest Generation in American Hisory. Any of you kids ever read 1984, by
George Orwell? Know what newspeak is? You actually want to work more for less money? Study the facts of history--the truth. And please, kids, try to think for yourselves. I am a registered independent. The "parties" don't think for me--you should try it sometime. By the way, I am still against the waste of lives and OUR

February 20 2011 at 4:52 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Maybe obama's trillion dollar budget cuts over ten years are like his 3.5 million jobs that were created, saved and imagined from the stimulus? What did obama tell the Republicans after the 2008 elections "we won, you lost; deal with it"?

February 20 2011 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Greedy Old Party kills more jobs for American WORKING FAMILIES, Steals from the poor to give to rich. Lies about the the fed. deficit--HOW MUCH of it is Iraq war,
occupation and rebuilding? The billions borrowed on the backs of American WORKING
TAXPAYERS? The explosive growth of the military-industrial complex to enrich
Cheney and the rest of the Axis of Evil? They have stolen the taxpayers money. The US treasury was robbed by the Greedy Guts. The younger generation is the dumbest generation in the history of this country! Do the math kids--Tax cuts for the wealthiest ADDS TO THE DEFICIT. Do you really want to work more for less money? DUH Unions built the middle class in this country. Why are people so stupid? Are all of you republicans in the top 1%? VFF Which came first; labor or capital? DUH Study the facts of HISTORY. No jobs=no taxes to support military/defense--who pays for the $1000. toilet seats in Iraq?

February 20 2011 at 4:31 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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