CBO Confirms: Senate Plan Doesn’t Cut More Than It Hikes, Gives President Obama a Blank Check

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its analysis of Senator Reid’s White House-backed debt limit plan this morning and confirmed what we already knew: it’s full of gimmicks – resulting in a bill that fails to cut more spending than the amount by which it would increase the debt limit – and gives President Obama the blank check he wants.  For example, Senate Democrats’ plan:

  • INCREASES THE DEBT LIMIT BY MORE THAN IT CUTS SPENDING: Savings from the Democratic plan come in at $500 billion less than advertised, lowering the deficit by (asterisk alert) $2.2 trillion while giving the president an up-front debt limit increase of $2.7 trillion; and
  • IS A COLLECTION OF GIMMICKS & “MOSTLY FAKE” CUTS: Of the $2.2 trillion, more than $1 trillion comes from “saving” money that wasn’t going to be spent anyway on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The rest comes from slashing defense spending in a way that would hurt our men and women in uniform, and from what the Wall Street Journal calls “mostly fake spending cuts like less government ‘waste, fraud and abuse’”; and   
  • IMPOSES “CAPS” THAT ACTUALLY INCREASE SPENDING: The Senate Democrats’ bill imposes “program integrity” caps that actually spend $18 billion more than they save.

Republicans are working to adjust the House bill after CBO said it saved less than thought. Speaker Boehner and House Republicans have repeatedly said spending cuts must be greater than the debt limit increase for any plan to pass – and they’re keeping that pledge. Of course, Republicans can only do so because they actually put a plan on the table – something the White House still hasn’t done.

The Republican plan also requires Congress to keep cutting spending before the debt limit can be raised again, and advances the cause of a Balanced Budget Amendment – two things the Reid plan simply does not do. As the Journal said, the GOP plan “is the most credible proposal with a chance of becoming law before the 2012 election.”