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

Will Dems Stick With Status Quo On Spending And Debt, Even After GAO Report Shows Massive Duplication In Gov’t?

March 2nd, 2011 by mopns · No Comments

 

Reuters wrote Monday, “As lawmakers returned from a weeklong break, budget-cutting Republicans pressured President Barack Obama’s Democrats to accept a proposal to trim $4 billion over the next two weeks by eliminating programs that Obama has also targeted. ‘This week, Democrats will have an opportunity to show that they’ve gotten the message,’ Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said. ‘They can show they agree the time has come to change the status quo.’”

And Roll Call reported, “Senate Democrats appear poised to swallow the House GOP’s $4 billion spending cut package to avert a government shutdown this week but are trying to figure out how to avoid getting squeezed again in two weeks.”

So while some Democrats have suggested they could support the two week continuing resolution, they continue to resist larger cuts in our current levels of unsustainable government spending. As Bloomberg News notes, “The House, prodded by Republican members elected last year with the support of the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement, passed legislation Feb. 19 that would cut $61 billion in spending this year. That measure called for double-digit reductions in hundreds of government programs, which Senate Democrats said were too extreme and would threaten the economic recovery.” And the AP pointed out last week, “The broader GOP measure is laden with $61 billion in cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid and has provoked a veto threat from the White House and is dead-on-arrival with Senate Democrats.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explained, Democrats’ attitude on spending is in sharp contrast with that of the American people. “Americans have been telling lawmakers for two years that business as usual simply will not cut it anymore. They want us to get our fiscal house in order and to start to create the right conditions for private sector job growth. . . . The message from the November elections is clear: stop spending money we don’t have. Yet Democrat leaders persist in defending budgets that do just that well into the future.”

And yet every week there is a new story pointing out simply how much wasteful spending there is in the government, without even getting into deeper cuts. ABC News reported yesterday, “With Congress currently embroiled in a contentious spending fight, a Congressional watchdog has found that a staggering level of duplication is plaguing the bloated federal budget – and chewing up billions of dollars in funding every year.” The Wall Street Journal adds, “A report from the nonpartisan [Government Accountability Office], to be released Tuesday, compiles a list of redundant and potentially ineffective federal programs, and it could serve as a template for lawmakers in both parties as they move to cut federal spending and consolidate programs to reduce the deficit. Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who pushed for the report, estimated it identifies between $100 billion and $200 billion in duplicative spending.” According to The Washington Post, the GAO writes, “Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of taxpayer dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services.” And according to ABC, “‘Considering the amount of program dollars involved in the issues we have identified, even limited adjustments could result in significant savings,’ the GAO said.”

Americans sent a clear message to Washington: it’s time to stop spending money we don’t have. Democrats should support the short term House CR when it comes to a vote this week, but there’s so much more that can and must be cut.

Related:

Rasmussen Reports: 58% Favor Government Shutdown Until Spending Cuts Are Agreed Upon

Time.com:  Five Members of Congress to Watch In the Budget Showdown (McCaskill mentioned)

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