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Conservatives: Budget Deal Puts US Deeper in Debt

Conservatives: Budget Deal Puts US Deeper in Debt
Chris Chocola

By    |   Wednesday, 15 January 2014 09:46 PM

Conservatives slammed the $1.1 trillion bipartisan budget bill passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, charging that it violated spending levels imposed by sequestration and caused the United States to keep spending money it did not have.

"It's just another example of bipartisanship spending more money and putting us further in debt," Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, told Newsmax in an interview. "It's 1,582 pages. I'd be willing to make a bet that not one of the 435 of them actually read it.

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"Instead of finding a way to be fiscally responsible, both parties are disappointed, once again, in spending more now and growing the size of government — putting us further in debt — and promising to behave better later, but not now," he said.

Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, told Newsmax that the bill signaled "a substantial retreat on the part of Republican leadership and a broken promise on what they said they would do in 2010. It's very frustrating."

On a vote of 359-67, the House passed the huge spending bill based on the compromise brokered in December by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee, and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, who heads the Senate Budget Committee.

Three Democrats joined with 64 Republicans to oppose the measure, which finances the government through this year and makes the possibility of a federal government shutdown less likely.

The legislation — which delays another $20 billion in Pentagon cuts under the 2011 sequestration bill, on top of the $34 million in reductions imposed last year — is expected to be approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate later this week.

House Speaker John Boehner praised the vote as a strong example of Capitol Hill bipartisanship.

"The House came together to keep the government open while further reining in its out-of-control spending," the Ohio Republican said in a statement. "I am particularly pleased that this measure contains no earmarks, which were once a pervasive symbol of a broken Washington.

"Also of note is that we are not providing any new or additional funding for the president’s healthcare law," Boehner added. The GOP-controlled chamber has voted numerous times to repeal the embattled Obamacare law.

"Of course, there is always more work to be done to deal with Washington’s spending problem, an effort Republicans will continue to lead as part of our focus on growing the economy and preserving the American Dream," Boehner said.

Republicans who voted against the budget bill cited it as a continued example of fiscal irresponsibility by Congress.

"Voting for a trillion-dollar-plus spending bill without more time to find ways on how we could reform and downsize government was something I could not support," Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona said in a statement. "This bill also fails to incorporate strategic opportunities to implement solid fiscal reform.

“If we are not willing to make tough choices now, then how can we expect future Congresses to make the bold and difficult choices we are unwilling to make ourselves?" Salmon asked.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has said throughout the process that he would oppose the budget plan.

“The American people are worried, and rightly so, about the state of our economy and the threat posed by our nation’s ever-increasing, spending-driven debt," he said in a statement. "The American people expect their elected officials to work to address the crisis that is coming if we don’t get our fiscal house in order.

"Unfortunately, the appropriations bill passed by the House today doesn’t come close to meeting the expectations of the American people or the responsibility we have to future generations."

But Americans for Tax Reform was more cautious to Newsmax about Wednesday's vote.
The omnibus bill "falls short of many conservative ideals," said Mattie Duppler, the taxpayer advocacy group's director of budget and regulatory affairs, but she noted how the $1.1 trillion total represented the fourth straight year that spending had declined from the previous year.

Funding for Obamacare also was cut — and $500 million was slashed from the troubled Internal Revenue Service, in addition to $440 million that would have gone to implement President Barack Obama's healthcare law, Duppler noted.

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"The omnibus leaves many things to be desired," she told Newsmax in a statement. "But it does demonstrate slow progress in a time where many, at one point, believed the fight for smaller government was all but lost."

The budget plan also was opposed by Heritage Action, the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation.

What was perhaps most troubling to both Kibbe and Chocola, however, was that the size of the budget bill — 1,582 pages.

"Nobody knows what they’re doing," Chocola said. "Literally, they do not know what they’re voting on. No one could.

"They posted this bill on Monday night — and here we are, on Wednesday, they're voting on it.

"Unfortuately, we have to pass it to see what's in it — and it's become business as usual," he added. "The result is we have more debt and we put our children further in the hole and diminish their future standard of living, because we can't do the hard things now."

Kibbe also attacked the notion that the bill demonstrated effective bipartisanship in the House.

"That's great for Washington, D.C., but the American people are looking for some semblance of fiscal responsibility in Washington," he told Newsmax. "Bipartisanship that funds all of the Democratic priorities and all of the Republican priorities does nothing for the American people."

Further, to claims that the budget marked a continuing trend in lower year-over-year spending, Kibbe retorted: "They’re using Washington math. They’re talking about spending reductions from an inflated baseline, when the fact of the matter is that spending goes up based on the kind of math that families would use around the kitchen table."

"Everything's relative," Chocola said. "When people talk about the deficit coming down — well, the deficit was over a trillion dollars. Even if it comes down to half a trillion dollars, it's still huge.

"There's reform — and then there's a kind of justification," he added. "This is not reform."

In addition, the budget bill also would earmark $92 billion for U.S. military operations abroad, mostly in Afghanistan — slightly less than last year — plus about $7 billion for disasters and other emergencies.

"It's interesting," Kibbe observed on the military allocations. "If you're going to deal with our national security, you have to deal with the fact that we're borrowing so many trillions of dollars.

"It undermines our position in the world and it squeezes those very functions in our national defense that are so important," he added. "You can't continue to spend money you don't have to fund defense if at the same time you're bankrupting the country."

One provision that enjoyed broad support among legislators was the rollback of a reduction in annual cost-of-living increases for wounded military personnel who retire early or for their surviving spouses.

Under the Ryan-Murray compromise, the money saved via the lowered increases would have been used to offset cuts in other programs.

"The emotions around that issue are certainly strong, but the reality is that we have to reform our entitlement programs," Chocola said. "We have to look at the promises we made to people — and I'm not criticizing our veterans — but our entire entitlement system needs to be reformed.

"There are a lot harder issues than this that we're going to have to deal with if we're going to get off the road to fiscal ruin."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Conservatives slammed the $1.1 trillion bipartisan budget bill passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, charging that it violated spending levels imposed by sequestration and caused the United States to keep spending money it did not have. It's just another...
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 09:46 PM
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