Budget Follies Are Coming Soon to a Congress Near You

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One of the big pieces of political theater that political junkies are looking forward to this summer is the reconciliation of the House and Senate budgets. Ginger Gibson of Politico describes the basic differences, which are pretty well known to everyone:

The differences between the House GOP and the Senate Democratic plans are clear, with the House GOP plan balancing the budget after 10 years but extracting deep cuts in spending and ultimately converting Medicare to a voucher program. The Senate Democratic plan doesn’t balance the budget at all but does contemplate nearly $1 trillion in tax hikes along with equal parts spending cuts.

Republicans, after wailing for years about Democratic unwillingness to pass a budget via regular order (as opposed to makeshift continuing resolutions), suddenly find themselves unenthusiastic about naming a conference committee because it would give minority Democrats in the House an opportunity to force embarrassing votes on a variety of politically sensitive topics. For their part, Democrats, who have been OK with makeshift continuing resolutions for the past few years, have finally decided that the time is right for a High Noon showdown and think a conference committee would be peachy.

I don’t actually have anything to say about this. Conference committees have been something of a dead letter for a while, and it’s not as if I have any deep and principled love for them. Mainly, I think it’s interesting that, as near as I can tell, Democrats feel more confident about their position these days than Republicans do. After about $3 trillion in spending cuts over the past two years, they seem confident that the public is firmly on their side when they demand that any further cuts should be matched with revenue increases from the wealthy.

We’ll see about that. Basically, though, this is just a placeholder post to make sure everyone knows where we are at the moment. The budget wars haven’t started to seriously heat up yet, but they probably will fairly soon.


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