Posted on | April 8, 2011 | 81 Comments
I’d been planning to go to bed early but stayed awake long enough to catch this:
President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said tonight that lawmakers have agreed on a temporary extension of government funding, averting a government shutdown while Congress considers a longer-term budget agreement.
Boehner made the same announcement during a very brief statement on Capitol Hill, little more than an hour before the midnight expiration of the continuing resolution that is currently funding the government; Boehner said the House will vote on the extension later tonight.
So now I guess I’ll stay up late enough to figure out how many magic beans Boehner got for the family cow.
UPDATE: Knife, back, some assembly required:
House Speaker John Boehner said he had reached agreement with the White House to avert the shutdown with barely more than an hour to spare, officials said.
“I am pleased that Senator Reid and I and the White House have been able to come to an agreement that will in fact cut spending and keep our government open,” he told reporters.
“I expect the House will vote tonight on a short term resolution into next week to allow some time for this agreement to be put together in legislative form and be brought to the floor of the Senate and the House for a vote.” . . .
The overall accord removed what Democrats had characterised as the biggest stumbling block – a Republican-crafted measure stripping federal funding from the Planned Parenthood clinics that provide abortions.
GOP Leaders: Standing Firmly for Our Lack of Principles!
UPDATE II: This irritated me:
OK, fine: Then show me one important liberal criticizing Obama and Democrats for giving up too much on this “compromise.” You can’t, because the Democrats gave up exactly nothing.
It is therefore not a “compromise” in any meaningful sense of the word, which is why there is not one peep of criticism from, inter alia, Alan Colmes.
Ace shrugs in weary exhaustion, and that’s OK, just so long as nobody expects us to pretend that the GOP has done anything meaningful to live up to its fiscal-conservative rhetoric.
UPDATE III: More details emerge:
After a long day of trading offers, the White House and House Republicans reached agreement Friday night on a budget framework that would cap 2011 appropriations near or below $1.050 trillion while cutting domestic and foreign aid by more than $40 billion from the rate of spending at the beginning of this Congress.
UPDATE IV: OK, thanks to Twitter friends who told me that Ezra Klein is unhappy with the deal:
Boehner’s the political winner here. Managed his caucus. Got dems to agree to more than expected. Averted a shutdown. He was very effective.
And in response to Obama’s speech, Klein says:
Listening to this speech, you’d think Obama was the one arguing for larger cuts.
And Klein doesn’t like Democratic leaders’ spin:
Shorter dems: these cuts we’ve been resisting and denouncing for months are historic and we’re proud to be passing so many of them.
So there we have exactly one important liberal criticizing the deal. I suppose we’ll have 100 more within a few hours, once Klein sends the secret bat-signal to all his JournoList buddies: “You must denounce Democrats as half-hearted weaklings!”
UPDATE V: “Historic” spending cuts, Harry Reid declares. The cuts aren’t as deep as those knives in our backs, but . . .
Did I say it deserved its own post? No, it deserves an entire book: Why It’s Impossible to Discuss Economics With a Keynesian.
Ben Adler, you
fucking moron* misguided young person: How does deficit reduction take money out of the economy?
The federal government doesn’t have a Magic Pot O’ Money and, contrary to whatever Ben Bernanke apparently believes, it can’t create money from thin air. Every dime that the federal government spends must come from one of three sources:
- Taxation, which obviously takes money out of the economy.
- Borrowing (i.e., deficit spending), which also takes money out of the economy, in the form of drains on investment. Money that is spent by private investors to buy government debt (i.e., bonds) is money not available to private business either as loans or as investment capital (stock).
- Inflation, which devalues currency and thereby — yes, you guessed it — takes money out of the economy.
So Ben Adler’s idea that reducing the annual deficit means “taking all this money out of the economy” has no basis in reality.
UPDATE VII: Philip Klein declares this The Best Doggone Compromise in the Entire History of Compromises. Why, it’s even better than the Three-Fifths Compromise, which is to this day beloved by connoisseurs of compromise everywhere.
Here is a simple suggestion: Let Boehner survey the GOP House caucus and find out how many “yes” votes he has for this deal. If it’s not a majority, then Obama and Nancy Pelosi should guarantee enough House Democrat votes to pass it. So if there are 50 Republicans in a mood to vote “no,” that would mean Pelosi has 27 Democrat “yes” votes.
House Republicans who oppose the “compromise” should publicly declare themselves as “no” votes immediately, so that Pelosi is forced to put some skin into this game. Otherwise, just kill the damned deal and let’s start from scratch.
(* — John Tabin criticized my use of “fucking moron” to describe Ben Adler. Because I was once so stupid myself — and didn’t wise up until I was in my mid-30s — I use the term with the avuncular affection of an ex-fucking moron who wishes to discourage young people from persisting in error.)
UPDATE IX: When you get this high into the Roman-numeral updates, it’s serious news. Our friends at Uncoverage comment:
Did John Boehner “cave?” Well, yes, but that assumes that he didn’t plan to do what he did all along. Is $39 billion a significant cut? No. But it’s more than ever done before. In the context of saving America, we need to be talking about trillions, not billions.
I’m less enraged by the dollar amount than by the fact that Republican leaders appear to have used pro-lifers as a bargaining chip whose principles could be bartered away. But my devoutly Catholic friend Da Tech Guy is actually encouraged by Boehner’s Bargain, so maybe I’m misreading this.