Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Baby Steps to a Balanced Budget
This is the first real choice the new Republican majority will have in the House to affect next year's budget. As noted in a previous column the Republicans have a great opportunity to put the country's budget on the right track, but only if they recognize that opportunity does not come until the new Congress is convened in January. All pronouncements about reducing spending, cutting programs, streamlining regulations and reducing the national debt should be holstered and replaced with the development of a political strategy that can bring those many goals to fruition. Currently not one of the thirteen appropriations bills required to run the government has been passed by the current Democratic Congress. As a result the current Congress is likely to use the Omnibus bill option, which adds a percentage to all of last year's spending and is passed by both bodies and signed by the President. The other option is to operate by Continuing Resolution, which continues current funding for short periods of time and requires re-authorization. The Republicans should go for this second option. They have the votes in the Senate to stop the Omnibus bill and force the Congress to use a continuing resolution. This puts them in a position to offer up new appropriations bills based on previous budgets or entirely new budgets with the cuts they want to achieve. This strategy permits them to put the onus to support cuts on the Democratic Senate and the President.