By: Brent Barnhart
on Thursday, March 31, 2011
Democrats and Republicans in the House aren’t getting along. What else is new? Not much, except that their inability to negotiate could mean a shutdown of the United States federal government.
While bickering and battling over the budget has become expected of both parties, now more than ever do their negotiations matter the most. The spending surgeons of the Republican Party want to cut now and cut deep, much deeper than Democrats are comfortable with as they suggest that the GOP’s proposed cuts would dissect essential government programs. With so many setbacks of the budget occurring already due to indecision, the do-or-die date is set at April 8th, 2011 for parties to come to a compromise. Failure to do so results in a governmental shutdown, which would be the first nationwide shutdown since 1995
In the midst of our country’s crippling debt, both Democrats and Republicans are agreeing that we need to spend less. The big talking point, of course, is the amount being cut. There’s at least $10 billion on the table as it stands, ready to be slashed with the Democrats’ blessing. For the GOP, however, it’s not enough. House Speaker John Boehner proposed an additional $26 billion in cuts, totaling $36 billion for the remaining of the fiscal year, to be signed into law. Analysts feel that such an amount would have likely passed through a Senate which still holds a Democratic majority. The end result would have been over $36 billion worth of cuts and a fairy-tale ending in the form of both sides of the table working together. Instead, we have more bickering and no budget. Why? $36 billion isn’t enough for the GOP. This immediately begs the question; how much is enough?
Republicans such as Tea Party Patriots
founder Mark Meckler are suggesting somewhere in the ballpark of $100 billion would do just fine. Cut deeper, cut more. Are these expectations realistic? After all, $36 is a nice chunk of change considering the Democrats’ reluctance to put $10 billion on the table in the first place. Such reluctance can be summed up by President Obama himself, who is rather fed up with the handling of current budget negotiations. “We can’t keep running the government on two-week extensions,” he said in regards to his frustration with how the budget is being handled. “We should be able to get it done.” The magic number for Republicans seems to be $61 billion in cuts, nearly double Boehner’s $36 billion deal.
That magic number, however, doesn’t appear to be adding up. Such deep cuts would cause a rift with Democrats, as programs such as Social Security
would inevitably be under scrutiny. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid specifically does not want to see Social Security touched at all within these negotiations. Obama addressed his reluctance to such cuts stating “There are going to be certain things that House Republicans want that I won’t accept.” Obama stressed that we as a country must “be serious about managing our budget” in order to remain “competitive over the long-term and win the future.” Republicans aren’t buying it.
This puts Speaker Boehner in an interesting position and leaves him with two options. That is, take the Democrats’ deal or let the shutdown commence. Option one would almost certainly spell dissention within the Republican majority, meanwhile option two is inevitability damaging to both Boehner’s reputation and his party. Boehner himself stated that his goal is “to cut spending because it’s going to lead to a better environment for job creators in America.”
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Right now we can only wait and see what the upcoming budget holds for the country and small businesses
in the United States. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait long to find out.