In a piece appearing in Politico, veteran reporter David Rogers notes the new Republican majority in the House has followed through on its promise to pull federal discretionary spending back to 2008 levels, observing that some “seem blind to how much the landscape has changed in the past 12 months” as a result of congressional Republicans’ fight to stop the spending binge in still-Democratic-controlled Washington.  Rogers credits the GOP majority with ensuring that “President Barack Obama will go into the last year of his first term with no more purchasing power in many cases than his predecessor four years before” – matching one of the central goals of the Pledge to America, which sought to return annual federal spending to pre-Obama levels. 

“Total discretionary spending will be down for a second year — counting emergency money or not,” Rogers writes.  “A year ago when [Speaker] Boehner was just being sworn in as speaker, the Congressional Budget Office pegged non-emergency discretionary spending at $1.091 trillion, with almost half or $508.7 billion for the Pentagon.  The deal now being negotiated by House and Senate Appropriations cuts $48 billion from that total even as the Pentagon goes up to $518 billion — meaning the rest of the government will get a real cut of $58 billion or 10 percent of discretionary spending as of a year ago.  This. . .comes very close to rolling back non-defense appropriations to the last year of the Bush administration.”

“Those 2008 numbers were dictated by another pre-Christmas deal almost exactly four years ago between what was then a Democratic Congress and Republican president,” Rogers writes.  “Two thirds of the $110 billion increase since then is owed to the Pentagon budget and veterans spending. If all the remaining domestic programs are lumped together with foreign aid and homeland security, the proposed spending levels for 2012 — $454 billion — are virtually the same as 2008 when adjusted for inflation.” (emphasis added)

“That means President Barack Obama will go into the last year of his first term with no more purchasing power in many cases than his predecessor four years before — and $55 billion less than Obama requested for the same accounts in his own 2012 budget last February,” Rogers writes.

Republicans have consistently warned that the ongoing government spending binge in Washington is a threat to American job creation.  As promised in the Pledge, Republicans in the new House majority have worked all year to pass bills that would remove government barriers to private-sector job creation, while also working to rein in federal spending.  Congressional Republicans confronted President Obama over his desire to increase the federal debt ceiling without corresponding spending cuts, with Speaker Boehner vowing that the House would not approve any debt limit increase that was not accompanied by larger cuts in government spending.  The result was enactment of the Budget Control Act, which placed strict spending caps on federal spending over the next decade – limits that will hold back the growth of government over the next 10 years and give our nation’s economy a chance to grow and create jobs.