The Corner

Budget Doings

The House managed last night finally to pass reconciliation, which is a sign that Republicans aren’t quite in total meltdown. But it still isn’t a pretty picture. Was just talking to Brian Riedl of Heritage about it. He says its distressing that there is all this drama passing a budget that only takes the rate of growth of entitlements from 39% to 38%. Republicans are straining to produce a reconciliation bill that saves $35-50 billion or so over 5 years, when the three reconciliation bills in the 1990s saved $447 billion, $244 billion and $232 billion according to Riedl (in 1990, 1993, and 1997 respectively). Meanwhile, a health and education spending bill was defeated on the floor yesterday, partly because it didn’t have enough pork in it to entice GOP members. Here is how the Washington Post describes it:

The drama exposed a basic struggle among congressional Republicans as they try to wrap up their 2005 legislative business and look a year down the road to the midterm elections. To reverse declining poll numbers, conservative lawmakers want the GOP to renounce pork-barrel politics and shrink the size of government. But following through means painful choices that will affect important constituencies. Those earmarks — whether for locals roads, or hospitals, or job training centers — are especially irresistible.

“We made a serious effort to reduce the patterns of spending in this gigantic bill. Then we made the gigantic and controversial step of saying no to projects,” said Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “The combination of that was too much for them to swallow.”

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

Most Popular


Christine Blasey Ford Must Agree to Testify

When Americans went to bed last night, the path forward in the Brett Kavanaugh nomination battle seemed set. On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee — and the nation — would have an opportunity to watch Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford testify, under oath, about Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh brutally ... Read More
Law & the Courts

An Eleventh-Hour Ambush 

Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation has, like that of Clarence Thomas before him, been thrown into chaos with an eleventh-hour allegation of sexual misconduct. Christine Blasey Ford, now a California professor of psychology, told the Washington Post over the weekend that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a ... Read More