According to Democrats, including Senator Kent Conrad (who chairs the Budget Committee which hasn’t produced a budget since FY2009), Republicans are “reneging” on last year’s debt deal because House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s new budget sets discretionary spending at $1.028 trillion instead of $1.047 trillion.
Meaning they’re upset because the House budget doesn’t spend enough money. Which, in this age of annual budget deficits over $1 trillion, seems like a silly complaint.
Senate Democrats today pushed back hard against Paul Ryan’s budget, even uttering the dirty “S” word around Capitol Hill: shutdown.
“We will be moving forward with appropriations bills at the level everyone agreed to just last year,” Senate Budget Chairman Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said at a news conference this morning., ”House Republicans, I hope, will do the same. If they fail to do so, they will once again threaten to shut down the government and needlessly imperil the economic recovery.”
Senate Democrats insist that Republicans adhere to spending levels agreed to in the Budget Control Act, as negotiated during the debt debate that dominated Capitol Hill late last year. Ryan’s proposal, unveiled today, lowers the discretionary spending cap from $1.047 trillion that was agreed upon in last years’ Budget Control Act to $1.028 trillion for FY2013.
The Budget Control Act Republicans agreed to certainly did set a spending cap at $1.047, but it was just that. A cap. The agreement didn’t stipulate that spending had to be at that cap level. It just stated that spending couldn’t be more than that cap.
Republicans are aiming to come in under that cap. Given the nation’s woeful fiscal situation, that’s admirable.