White House compromises before budget negotiations even begin

I bet the Republicans are just quaking in their boots.

It’s like going to check out a home for sale, and the seller keeps calling you and lowering the price before you can even check out the house. If I didn’t know this was written by Sam Stein, I’d have honestly thought this was an Onion parody.

Minutes before lawmakers and Vice President Joseph Biden met to discuss a funding measure to keep the government operational through the fiscal year, the Obama administration offered the first formal compromise.

Briefing reporters at the White House while negotiators made their way to the VP’s office on the Hill, top administration officials said they had agreed to cut another $6 billion from the measure (and would be willing to go even further) in an attempt to bridge the party divide.

I’m not sure I can make heads or tails of the math in the next 3 grafs, but I do understand one thing – the Republicans keep moving the goal post and the White House Charlie Brown keeps trying to kick that old ball.

The continuing resolution House Republicans passed in February included $100 billion in cuts when compared to the FY 2011 White House budget proposal — a proposal that ultimately didn’t pass. The White House insists its budget suggestion should be judged on that frame.

As such, the president and Senate Democrats have already offered a continuing resolution that comes in at roughly $40 billion below those levels. Adding on the $4 billion in reductions lawmakers passed in order to keep the government running for two weeks following March 4th (when funds were initially set to run out) and the $6 billion in cuts Sperling and Pfeiffer unveiled on Thursday equals $50 billion total — exactly half of the $100 billion passed by Republicans.

As of several days ago, this math might have worked with the GOP. But as negotiations have entered a new stage, so to has the context. Republicans now insist negotiations instead should be based off current spending levels, not those in Obama’s 2011 budget proposal. With that as a baseline, their CR offers roughly $60 billion in cuts. The president, in turn, offers just $10 billion (the $4 billion passed already plus the $6 billion suggested on Thursday).

Since we learned this week that GOP budget cuts of $60bn could kill 700,000 jobs, then how exactly will these cuts affect the economy? I think we deserve to know if our president is agreeing to cuts that will decimate the economy – heading into a presidential election, no less. You’d think that just might be the height of folly.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in New York City, and is the cofounder of TimeToResign.com. Bio, .

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