The new House of Representatives will be sworn in at noon today. We have a pretty good sense of their schedule of events for the first few weeks before the State of the Union address, and because the Senate is leaving town (another brilliant Democratic tactical decision), they will have Congress all to themselves.
First we’ll have the adoption of the new rules, which will allow tax cuts but not new spending, set budget caps based on the whim of the Budget Committee Chair, exempt health care repeal and the Bush tax cuts from stringent budget rules, and reduce the power of the non-voting representative from Washington DC, because it wouldn’t be a Republican majority if they weren’t taking an African-American’s voting rights away.
Some conservatives wanted tighter rules on spending than even what the GOP leadership put together, and from the look of the “Spending Reduction Accounts,” I’m inclined to at least see the potential for abuse:
The rules as currently proposed call for spending cuts to be placed into a separate account that wouldn’t be available for spending. The rule would allow the sponsor of the cut to reallocate the money for other purposes but doesn’t let another member increase spending with any savings that are set aside.
(Rep. Jim) Jordan’s proposal would essentially ban lawmakers from touching any of the money put into the spending reduction accounts.
“Our amendment would prevent any reductions approved by the House from being used to increase spending in another bill,” Jordan said.
My question is why there would be an account with spending cuts at all. It seems like it can be pulled out at any moment to “prove” spending reductions, while pet projects still get ladled out. Keep an eye on those Spending Reduction Accounts.
In the first few weeks, the House will vote to repeal health care, in a bill without amendments or a CBO score, because the CBO is a liberal front group, apparently. After that, there will be some spending cut proposals, and Republicans are really digging deep here by saving $35 million dollars (in a $3 trillion dollar budget) on legislative staff. Speaker John Boehner and his cadres want to cut $100 billion from the budget this year, in 2011, but have already lowered their sights on that, because they won’t get around to detailing the further cuts until the year is half over (and they want to talk about budget cuts more than imposing them).
Then the State of the Union will hit, and it will be time to take hostages on the current budget, which expires March 4, and the debt limit, which will also expire around that time.
It’s going to be a grand old time.