As it should come as no surprise, all that effort to cut more and save more over the budget battle, and it comes down to a numbers game. But the numbers will leave most on Captial Hill scratching their heads trying to get them to come out as promised. But, as Pelosi would probably put it, the bill should be passed so we can figure out what’s in it.
According to a Congressional Budget Office estimate, the hard-fought budget deal funding the government for the rest of the year saves only $352 million from non-war accounts this year. The new figure has rankled conservative lawmakers who thought they had extracted a fair amount of concessions out of the other side of the aisle. It wasn’t the $61 billion in cuts they had originally sought, but House Speaker John Boehner and his deputies insisted $38 billion in cuts was the best deal they could get, with the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the other side of the negotiating table.
But the CBO analysis showed the savings mostly won’t materialize this year, potentially spelling trouble for the deal as it approaches a floor vote Thursday, though Boehner insists it’ll pass.
About $8 billion in immediate cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid are offset by nearly equal increases in defense spending. When war funding is factored in the legislation would actually increase total federal outlays by $3.3 billion relative to current levels.
To a fair degree, the lack of immediate budget-cutting punch is because the budget year is more than half over and that cuts in new spending authority typically are slow to register on deficit tallies. And Republicans promise that when fully implemented and repeated year after year, the cuts in the measure would reduce the deficit by $315 billion over the coming decade.