"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Democrat Leaders Still Not Getting It On Spending; Will They Listen To Fellow Dems?‏

February 8th, 2011 by mopns · No Comments

Speaking on the floor this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “In their Monthly Budget Review, the Congressional Budget Office said that if the current spending levels are frozen at the same level as they are now, and Congress were to enact no other legislation affecting spending or revenues, the federal government would end this fiscal year with a deficit of $1.5 trillion—or about $200 billion more than the deficit Democrats ran last year.

“In other words, even if we don’t add another dime to the current spending levels, the deficit will get even worse than last year. That’s what would happen under the President’s best offer, which is to lock in the dramatically higher spending levels from the past two years and put the budget on cruise control. The deficit wouldn’t stand still — it will grow by $200 billion, over the next several months.

“So yesterday’s predictions by the CBO should be a wakeup call to anyone who thinks they can hide behind a spending freeze.”

Apparently even some Democrats are realizing that this is an untenable situation. Politico notes that Democrat senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kent Conrad (D-ND), and Mark Warner (D-VA) joined GOP senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Mike Crapo (R-ID) to discuss reviving proposals from the president’s deficit commission, none of which he mentioned in his State of the Union address. Politico writes, “Democrats admit their own frustration that the president has not been more forthcoming in addressing the debt issue. For example, ‘The Easy Cuts Are Behind Us’ was the headline for a weekend op-ed by White House Budget Director Jack Lew promising that Obama’s 2012 budget will ‘look beyond the obvious’ in cutting spending. But Lew is already months behind his fellow Democrats on one of his prime examples — cuts from the Great Lakes restoration initiative.”

And Roll Call reports, “Other Democrats have been pushing hard for steep spending cuts. Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) recently signed on to a proposed spending cap that would slash trillions in spending over the coming decade, telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that her own party is in ‘denial’ over how big the problem is. Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (N.D.) has also struggled to get his fellow Democrats to support a multitrillion-dollar deficit reduction package, with many Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) averse to touching Social Security.”

Yet according to Roll Call, Democrat leaders are apparently plan to ignore the debt problem and instead attack House Republicans for daring to cut spending. “Democrats smell an opportunity to define House Republicans as irresponsible and unready to govern when they vote on the specific details of their budget cuts in the next two weeks. . . . Democrats are gearing up to take on the cuts as extreme and damaging to a host of popular programs, according to leadership aides on both sides of the Capitol. But they don’t want to be seen as merely defenders of big government either, and they acknowledge the public’s concern about the deficit. ‘It’s definitely going to be threading the needle,’ one senior House Democratic aide said.”

But if Democrat leaders are simply going to attack proposals to cut spending, can they be taken seriously when they proclaim their shared concern about the deficit?

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