Republican budget boss Rep. Paul Ryan drops the bomb, with a plan to reduce non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels — this year, not at some distant remove in the theoretical future.
If you haven’t been following the ins and outs of the Republican intramural budget battle, here’s a bit of news for you: This is a compromise, and not one that the deficit hawks really wanted. The original plan was to cut a full $100 billion this year; some Republicans argued instead for a prorated cut that reflects the fact that part of the budget year already has passed, applying the 2008 standard only to the remaining seven months. That’s what we got — a compromise that hawks ought to be able to live with.
Good stuff, here: $58 billion off the president’s request in non-defense spending, and $16 billion off the military.
Republicans could be out there saying, “Well, let’s wait until we get the Senate back,” or “There’s not much we can do while Obama’s in the White House.” And lots of conservatives would cut them slack if they did. But they aren’t, and that is an excellent sign.