GOP sticks to guns on budget cuts
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Editorial by Staff
Republican representatives won the battle for the budget Friday, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown in the process.
Members of the GOP threatened to delay funding last week in order to negotiate spending cuts at the federal level. Without ratifying a new budget, the government would be forced to close until a decision could be reached.
Though the Republicans are being billed as the bad guys for “wanting to shut the government down” and “put people out of jobs,” the truth is that both parties would have been blamed for a shutdown. The Democrats knew this and compromised accordingly.
But why did the budget problem reach the point of government shutdown? When the Democrats had control of Congress before last November’s elections, they did not pass the budget for the entire year of 2011 in fear that the massive spending they had in mind would hurt their chances to be reelected. (This ruse did not fool voters however, who chose by and large to replace many Democratic legislators in November.) Instead, they only passed a temporary budget that expired April 8.
The Republicans in Congress are sticking to the guns that got them elected and following through with their plans to reduce federal spending in order to provide economic relief to the American people. This idea of “dancing with the girl that brung you” comes as a shock to many, based on the ways politicians in the past have changed their tune upon taking office.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is doing exactly what he said he’d do. The Republicans had to threaten a shutdown in order to get the Democrats, including Obama, to agree to reduce the size of the budget.
Boehner originally proposed $32 billion in spending cuts. When the dust finally cleared, $38.5 billion was cut from the federal budget – $6.5 billion more than he originally asked for.
It was truly a “historic” accomplishment, as Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called it. Of course, Reid was opposed to any cuts in the beginning.
The $38.5 billion cut from the budget is a good number because it is actually enough to kill programs instead of simply lowering the budgets for them. Many wasteful programs in the past have kept lumbering on, only to be financed more in the future. But this way, wasteful programs will be eliminated.
Although this time it was only a threat, what would the effects of a government shutdown be? Law enforcement, emergency personnel (such as firefighters) and postal workers would continue doing their jobs, but their pay would be suspended.
Other individuals who work in less essential public sector jobs would not be able to go to work. The military would still function, but their paychecks would be held hostage. This means military families might not have been able to pay rent or buy groceries.
The government has many functions that are essential to the lives of its citizens; however, providing healthcare is not one of them.
Not only were the budget cuts a victory for Republicans by themselves, but the agreement reached with Senate Democrats guarantees a debate and vote in the Senate on legislation to repeal Obamacare in its entirety.
If this happens, some Democrats up for re-election in 2012 may cast their vote against public healthcare, and it won’t look good for the president to veto a bipartisan bill that is in line with the overall will of American voters.
Republican legislators are also pushing to cut federal spending for Planned Parenthood and its family planning in the months ahead.
However, the newly approved budget is only temporary and will last through Friday, April 15. Legislators must again vote to ratify a final budget for the year before another eminent shutdown.
The vote last Friday was an all-around victory for the GOP. In terms of dollars, this was the largest spending cut in American history.
The Republicans in Congress are walking the walk and just took a big step for the country on the road to economic recovery.