The House Republican majority has already begun to send mixed signals on just what it is they they would like to see cut, with the Republican leadership and the Republican House Study Committee appearing to differ greatly on what should be cut in this fiscal cycle. The Study Group has pushed for budget cuts in this fiscal year that would be roughly double that of the recommended levels of the Republican leadership. And as the attached clip of Eric Cantor on Meet the Press clearly shows the Republicans, at this point, are just not ready for prime time on balancing the federal budget. Two things that I took out of the clip.
1) When pressed for specific cuts the best Cantor could point to was an abolition of public financing of Presidential elections, a $500 million dollar savings. Yes $500 million seems like a lot, but is is a joke when talking about addressing fiscal imbalances. The Republicans apparently forget that the campaign is now over and that they actually have to make governing decisions as the majority.
2) Cantor, when pressed about the real meat in the federal budget, (Social security and Medicare) took a pass. He cited book passages from his new work with Paul Ryan, but as in the campaign he just refused to talk about the reality of the medicine that would be needed to bring the budget in balance. A book passage? Funny stuff. He did cite the Ryan Roadmap, but failed to note that that Roadmap has scant Republican support in the House.
He and the Republican leadership have also started gaming the numbers already, saying that the $100 billion dollar cut in spending in this fiscal cycle they promised was actually a $100 billion dollar cut over two years. Good luck to Cantor and Boehner in dealing with their caucus, many of whom believe that you can reduce the deficit without cutting entitlements and defense. The Republican Study Group proposal should be an interesting starting point for the Republican caucus. Cantor said Defense was on the table, but the Republican Study group seems to disagree with their leader. The debt limit vote should be the political flash point, with all signs appearing to point to great difficulty in getting that through the House. Can’t wait to see the specifics. But it looks like we will all have to continue to wait.