The Senate will pass the two-week budget extension, with $4 billion in cuts, this morning, probably by around 11:00am. And debasing themselves even further, they come up with the “we lost this round, but just you wait until next time” spin. It’s the Brooklyn Dodgers strategy, I guess. But they can’t even agree on what they want for next time, it seems.
Senate Democrats conceded Tuesday that House Republicans won round one of the budget fight, but they are vowing a bigger battle later this month.
Anticipating that showdown, Senate Democratic leaders are scrambling to unify their caucus as their colleagues express starkly different opinions on the best strategy to pursue.
Centrists who are facing tough reelections in Republican-leaning states want to support additional spending cuts for the rest of the fiscal year. Some are more willing to accept reductions to social programs than to defense and agriculture programs.
My favorite part of the story is this: Barbara Mikulski spends half of it decrying all the terrible cuts in the House GOP continuing resolution, and then adds, “but I also don’t want a government shutdown.” Neither does John Boehner, and he’s said it out loud as well, but it’s pretty clear who’s going to blink first here.
You can certainly see that by the fact that the House Democrats offered a smart motion to recommit yesterday, forcing the GOP to go on the record in support of Big Oil subsidies, and not one of them defected. Every single Republican voted to maintain Big Oil subsidies. That may hurt them in two years, but it completely failed to wedge their caucus yesterday. And so you have an upcoming showdown in a couple weeks between a unified caucus and one “scrambling to unify their caucus.” Figure out the winner.
Therefore, you’re going to see a budget for the rest of the year with huge cuts, maybe all the way up to that $61 billion level. Now the February employment report could show signs of a comeback in hiring, but adding $61 billion in near-term cuts to oil instability and state budget rollouts will do a great deal of damage to an economy that is not yet self-sustaining.
And nobody seems to be making that case.