Budget Discipline

In the House, a budget is passed that contains spending levels below the $1.047 trillion cap agreed in last summer’s Budget Control Act.  The Republicans are heavily scored by Progressives for violating the BCA’s agreement to cap spending by actually spending less than that cap.

In the Senate, a bill to increase spending on the Post Office is proposed.  If passed, this spending bill will increase the Federal deficit by $34 billion because it does not offer spending reductions elsewhere—thereby exceeding the $1.047 trillion cap.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R, AL), the Ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee (you remember that bunch—the Progressive dominated committee that’s been so well disciplined that it has produced zero budgets in the last three years, including a half-hearted effort of just a week ago that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, UT) ordered scotched before it was born), has announced that he’ll raise a number of points of order to block this bill of ill discipline.  (As an aside, it’ll take separate 60-vote majorities, under Senate rules, to kill each of the points of order.)  Sessions made a statement on the floor of the Senate Monday explaining his action; it can be found here.  Following is an excerpt.

Under Senate rules, no committee can bring a bill to the floor that spends even one penny more than is already going to be spent under current law, or increases the deficit more than it will increase under current law.

In other words, the spending and debt under the postal bill violates the debt limit agreement reached just last summer.

This is particularly odd since the President and the Senate Majority Leader have accused the House members, the Republican House, of breaking the budget agreement by trying to save a little more money than the Budget Control Act said that they should save.  This argument is not sound, of course, but that bill established basic spending caps, basic limits—the maximum amount that could be spent on discretionary accounts.  Not one word in that law prevents us, or any member of Congress, from doing the duty to try to save more money.  Not one word in that law requires Congress to max out and spend up to that cap, to that limit.  So this is not a matter of interpretation; caps are the maximum, not the minimum, you can spend.

Can we really afford any more Progressive budget discipline?

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