Commentary Magazine


More Phantom Cuts in the Reid Budget?

Yesterday, I wrote that Sen. Harry Reid was obscuring the numbers of his deficit reduction plan by including $1.2 trillion in “war spending cuts” that were already planned for. But a Republican Senate Budget Committee aide now tells me Reid appears to have also inflated his $1.2 billion in deficit reduction from discretionary spending caps.

According to committee analysts, Reid’s baseline doesn’t include $400 billion in savings already enacted in the continuing resolution. Which would mean there’s only $800 billion in new savings in his plan. Add that to the $1.2 trillion in phantom war spending reductions, and it makes you wonder exactly how much of of Reid’s “savings” are real, and how much are just number tricks.

In fact, GOP analysts say the spending cuts appear to be closer to $1 trillion during the next decade than to the $2.7 trillion that Reid initially claimed. In response to the analysis of Reid’s budget, Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Budget Committee, released the following statement:

As feared, the Majority Leader’s bill does not achieve anything close to the promised savings. Spending next year would be only $3 billion less than the amount enacted for 2011. Far from the $2.7 trillion in cuts claimed, the true spending cuts in this proposal are closer to $1 trillion over ten years—roughly a third of what was advertised—while asking for a nearly $3 trillion increase in the debt limit. This falls far short of the idea that a dollar in cuts should accompany every dollar increase in the debt limit.

Sessions also endorsed a short-term extension – which he stressed must include immediate cuts during the extension period – in order to allow more time for negotiation.

“Given the late hour, rather than rush through poorly-vetted legislation to grant the president the largest debt ceiling increase in history, we should pursue a more reasonable approach: a short-term extension with real cuts during the immediate time period the extension covers—not ten years down the road,” said Sessions.

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