The House will vote today on the $38 billion budget deal agreed to late last Friday by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and President Obama. The agreement was the result of weeks of wrangling, and came mere hours before the government was due to shut down. But now, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has calculated that the deal will do almost nothing to repair the nation's long-term finances. Despite the touted $38 billion in cuts, total federal outlays will still rise by $177 billion, says the CBO, and the deficit will be reduced by a paltry $352 million. Tea Party-backed freshmen in Congress are already talking about voting against the deal, and presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty is amongst those demanding a leaner budget. Will Republicans turn on Boehner?
Yes. Freshman Republicans must vote against this disgrace: We already knew that the $38 billion in cuts was actually around $14 billion of real cuts and "a bunch of accounting gimmicks," says Erick Erickson at RedState. Now we hear that the deficit will only shrink by $352 million. Yes, "that's million with an 'm.'" Unbelievable. "If House Republicans vote for this bipartisan compromise, they should be driven into the street by the Tea Party movement and horsewhipped."
No. Most Republicans are over this: The bill will pass, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, in part because "the conversation's already moved on to bigger money," such as the "erupting war" on the deficit between Obama and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and the looming debt ceiling crisis. And if the Republican caucus forced a shutdown now, "they'd inevitably get more blame" than if it had happened last week. It will be close though; prepare for an "epic" House vote.
"CBO: Last week's $38 billion budget deal only reduces this year's deficit by... $352 million"
Either way, Boehner is on thin ice: The House speaker has put his caucus "in an awful fix," says the National Review in an editorial. Now the GOP must support a cynical deal "sold partly on false pretenses," or face another damaging government shutdown. If Republican lawmakers can't stomach a rejection of this budget, then at least they should be "frank about the deal's shortcomings," and refuse to"exaggerate its merits." As for Boehner, he should consider this "strike one" against his speakership.