Last night’s last-minute agreement on significant spending reductions for the balance of the 2011 fiscal year, which averted a government shut-down, was an important accomplishment for the American people concerned about our nation’s current path towards bankruptcy. It is a down payment in a long process, starting us down what will hopefully be a new path towards lower and lower spending.
the adult in the room
Nice try, but after a couple of failed meetings at the White House, Obama took a time out, while the real work was going on elsewhere. Obama was relegated to a bystander status during yesterday’s feverish negotiations between the House Republican leadership and the Senate Democratic leadership. And he looked like a deer caught in the headlights when he appeared on TV late last night to announce the deal. He began by mentioning how the Washington Monument, lit up behind him, would now be kept open. Somewhere down on his list of those whom he said would benefit from the deal were our soldiers, who will now be sure they will continue to receive their paychecks. Obama is clueless on what the American people, through the Tea Party movement and other grass-roots movements, have managed to accomplish.
What Obama does not want to admit is that the spending-cut agreement, while short of the full $61 billion in savings the House of Representatives had originally passed, begins at long last to seriously reverse the stimulus spending binge trajectory that began on his watch. It is the down payment on trillions of dollars more in spending cuts to come, which are necessary to restore our nation’s fiscal health.
The Tea Party WDC has provided a detailed summary of the budget deal agreement, which I have excerpted below. It reveals some additional items that have not gotten much publicity at all, such as required audits of Obamacare waivers to unions and other special interest groups and audits of the so-called Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:
- LARGEST SPENDING CUT IN AMERICAN HISTORY. The agreement will immediately cut $38.5 billion in federal spending – the largest spending cut in American history in terms of dollars – just months after President Obama asked Congress for a spending “freeze” that would mean zero cuts. With this new lower baseline, the agreement will effectively result in cuts of hundreds of billions of dollars from the federal budget over the next decade .
- GUARANTEES SENATE VOTE ON REPEAL OF OBAMACARE. The agreement reached with Senate Democrats guarantees a Senate debate and vote on legislation that would repeal President Obama’s government takeover of health care in its entirety. The House passed such legislation in January as part of the Pledge to America.
- NEW TOOLS TO FIGHT IMPLMENTATION OF OBAMACARE. The agreement will require numerous studies that will force the Obama Administration to reveal the true impact of the law’s mandates, including a study of how individuals and families will see increased premiums as a result of certain Obamacare mandates; a full audit of all the waivers that the Obama Administration has given to firms and organizations – including unions – who can’t meet the new annual coverage limits; a full audit of what’s happening with the comparative effectiveness research funding that was in Obamacare and the president’s failed “stimulus” spending bill; and a report on all of the contractors who have been hired to implement the law and the costs to taxpayers of such contracts.
- NO ADDITIONAL FUNDING TO THE IRS. The Obama administration has sought increased federal funding for the Internal Revenue Service – money that could be used to hire additional agents to enforce the administration’s agenda on a variety of issues. This increased funding is denied in the agreement.
- SENATE VOTE & DEBATE ON DE-FUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD. The agreement with Senate Democrats guarantees a Senate debate and vote on legislation that would end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
- MANDATORY AUDITS . The agreement subjects the so-called Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by the Dodd-Frank law to yearly audits by both the private sector and the Government Accountability Office to monitor its impact on the economy, including its impact on jobs, by examining whether sound cost-benefit analyses are being used with rulemakings.
All in all, the American people won a big battle last night. The big-spending Obama administration and congressional big government Democrats lost big-time.
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam