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Paul Hayden

Obama Poised to Win Budget Battle and Slash Defense

July 25, 2011

Another discussion by liberal talking heads on CNN recently depicted House conservatives as fanatical budget-cutters standing in the way of a “deal” on federal spending and debt. But the Cut, Cap, and Balance Bill, which has been portrayed as draconian and fiscally conservative, actually raises the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion. Nine House Republicans voted against the bill for this and other related reasons.

Coverage of the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act (H.R. 2560) has been extremely misleading. The coverage is reminiscent of how the media portray cuts in the rate of growth of federal spending as actual cuts.

In this case, however, the House Republican leadership went along with the ploy, in order to portray themselves as serious budget cutters. The liberal media were only too willing to oblige, setting up a final showdown in which Obama stands to come out the big winner and make cuts that will undermine our national defense—a constitutional obligation of the federal government.

Indeed, one of the “popular” alternatives, now being touted by some in the liberal media, is a plan by “conservative” Senator Tom Coburn to cut $1 trillion from the U.S. defense budget. His options include cancelling aircraft carriers, “reforming” the Joint Strike Fighter program, delaying production of the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle, terminating a mobile air defense system, reducing nuclear weapons, and reducing purchases of the V-22 Osprey.

At Commentary magazine, Alana Goodman writes of the Coburn plan that “it’s far more radical than Obama’s own recommendation to slash the defense budget by $400 billion.” She adds, “Military spending is not the reason why we’re in a fiscal crisis. Getting rid of wasteful spending in the defense budget is one thing, but strangling it with cuts will endanger our troops and dangerously diminish America’s standing in the world.”

“House Republicans passed legislation on Tuesday evening calling for deep spending cuts and the adoption of a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget,” declared The New York Times, not even noting the raising of the debt limit in the bill. It was another attempt to make House Republicans look like something they are not.

Rep. Paul Broun, one of the nine Republicans voting in opposition, did not remain silent about the scheme. “I gave my word to my constituents in Georgia and to the rest of the American people that I would not vote for any bill that increases the debt limit,” he said. “Although the Cut, Cap, and Balance bill is a step in the right direction, it still raises the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, and we simply cannot afford it.”

Rep. Connie Mack said, “President Obama has yet to present any specific plan to cut federal spending opting instead to fund ObamaCare at the expense of Social Security and pay to our soldiers. It is senseless to go on record as supporting an increase in the debt ceiling when the President has negotiated in poor faith.”

Comments like these were highlighted in a CNS News story by Susan Jones and they demonstrate how the battle over the budget has been covered by the mainstream media based on the assumption that the debt ceiling can and should be raised. Those opposed to the raising of the debt limit were effectively marginalized.

The Washington Post called Cut, Cap, and Balance the “balanced budget bill” and said that “the Republican-controlled House forged ahead Tuesday with another approach to the debt crisis, voting to sharply cut spending and tie an increase in the debt limit to the eventual adoption of a balanced-budget amendment.” It did not mention that the bill would raise the debt ceiling by over $2 trillion.

Investor’s Business Daily endorsed the plan, saying it was the best of three Republican alternatives, but in claiming that it would “cut spending and the size of government” the paper misled its readers. Clearly, you cannot cut government by giving it more ability to borrow and spend.

Still, the legislation was strongly opposed by liberal Democrats and Obama threatened to veto the bill if it managed to pass the Senate. Hence, the House Republicans are now being forced into the position of eventually agreeing to more government debt and spending on terms even more favorable to Obama.

Cut, Cap and Balance had the support of the Republican Study Committee, the caucus of House conservatives led by Rep. Jim Jordan. The RSC website boasts of support for this proposal from:

  • American Conservative Union
  • American Family Business Institute
  • Americans for Tax Reform
  • Americans for Limited Government
  • Buckeye Institute
  • Citizens United
  • Club for Growth
  • College Republicans
  • Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
  • Family Research Council
  • FreedomWorks
  • Heritage Action
  • Independent Women's Voice
  • Let Freedom Ring
  • Life & Liberty PAC
  • National Taxpayers Union

A website devoted to passage of the bill and put together by a high profile conservative lobbying firm, CRC Public Relations, lists even more conservative sponsors of the legislation.

But Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco said, “I did not vote for this bill because it raises the cap on our nation’s debt by more than $2 trillion. While I support the main principles of this legislation, cutting government spending, capping government spending and balancing the federal budget, I did not support this bill because it was tied to an increase in our debt.”

Rep. Morgan Griffith said that while he supports the general goal of cut, cap, and balance, “I cannot support raising the debt ceiling without significant cuts and a substantial change to the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann said, “While I embrace the principles of Cut, Cap and Balance, the motion does not go far enough in fundamentally restructuring the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars.”

Rep. Scott DesJarlais said, “…I simply cannot vote in favor of giving this President another 2.4 trillion dollars to continue his reckless government spending spree for the next year and a half. Furthermore, the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation does not provide a solid blueprint for where or how this $2.4 trillion increase will be spent. This would allow President Obama to run up two more years of trillion dollar deficits without making tough choices on where to cut spending.”

The other House Republicans voting against the bill were Ron Paul of Texas, Dana Rohrabacher of California and Walter Jones of North Carolina.

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