It appears that Republicans will come back to Washington with a certain humility. Big fights on spending and the debt limit have hurt their brand – they’ve hurt everyone in Washington, but Republicans to a greater degree – and the 2012 appropriations level has basically been set by the debt limit deal. So they plan to come back and work to get the annual spending bills out the door in time:
Even as a new bipartisan committee begins work on a difficult and potentially contentious strategy to reduce federal spending by more than a trillion dollars over the next decade, leaders of both parties have expressed optimism that there will be minimal acrimony as they work to complete a series of 12 spending bills to fund the work of federal agencies for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
Such an agreement would lift the threat of a government shutdown that has loomed over the budget and debt clashes of most of the year, providing some relief for federal workers who have faced the possibility of involuntary furloughs in recent months.
This is of course the top-line leadership position, not the rank and file. And just because a target number has been agreed to, that doesn’t mean that the specific levels for specific programs will be an easy lift, or that policy riders to which Democrats would object won’t get put into the spending bills.
And just because the spending bills may go off without a hitch, that doesn’t mean that Republicans will have nothing left to argue about:
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is pressing the Obama administration to provide Congress with a list of upcoming regulations that will have an economic effect greater than $1 billion.
Boehner’s letter to President Obama Friday comes ahead of planned House votes this fall on GOP legislation that would require congressional approval of major federal regulations.
“This year the Administration’s current regulatory agenda identifies 219 planned new regulations that have estimated annual costs in excess of $100 million each. That’s almost a 15 percent increase over last year, and appears to contradict public suggestions by the Administration this week that the regulatory burden on American job creators is being scaled back,” Boehner’s letter states.
This is a prelude to the REINS Act, which would put approval of new federal regulations in the hands of Congress. That would be a complete transfer of power from the executive to the legislative branch. If it accompanied a Parliamentary system maybe it would be justified, but as it is it would just bog down the swift application of government and add more veto points into a system already overburdened by them.
There’s also reason to suspect that the anti-regulatory environment Republicans seek has nothing to do with job creation or allowing business investment to take off, and everything to do with allowing corporations to run away with profits that they’ll pocket from being allowed to act with no controls on its behavior.