Skeptics Say 'Hold Applause' on Bipartisan Budget

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is applauding a bipartisan budget deal aimed at avoiding another government shutdown.

The plan, announced Tuesday evening by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., would cut $85 billion in spending.

But some wonder whether the congressional budget deal is good for taxpayers and the economy or will just lead to more government spending.

Does this bill help tackle spending issues? Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, answers this and more on CBN Newswatch, Dec. 12.


A Rare Accord

These days in Washington, it seems success on budget talks is defined by Democrats and Republicans managing to find some point of agreement. It was, therefore, a rare sight to see a top Republican and a top Democrat standing side by side announcing a budget deal.

"We are showing that this divided government can work at its basic functioning levels, which are paying the bills," Murray said. "This Congress can work, that people can come up together from very different corners and find common ground."

The framework of that common ground is as follows:

  • The plan raises domestic spending by $63 billion over the next two years. 
         
  • It also eases the sequester's across-the-board budget cuts in Pentagon spending, shifting them to other programs over the next decade.
  • It also cuts spending by $85 billion dollars, but those cuts won't take effect right away.
  • The deal also raises fees on airline tickets to pay for airport security.

While the spending increases will start right away, the spending cuts won't.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told CBN News he's taking a wait-and-see approach.

"It looks like it would increase spending for a couple of years in exchange for some savings that would be achieved in future years," Thune explained. "And I think what's going to be important for a lot of Republicans is what are those savings and are they meaningful and is this something that's a good tradeoff."

Meanwhile, the president, as well as House and Senate leaders, are praising the deal. They say it gives Americans the confidence there won't be talk of a government shutdown for two years.

However, the agreement does not address future debates over raising the debt ceiling.
 
GOP Getting the Shaft?

But for now, the focus for many conservative critics is the belief that Republicans are getting taken to the cleaners yet again.

Influential conservative blogger Erick Erickson noted the deal "does not impact the national debt. It does not reform entitlements."

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also blasted the deal.

"This budget continues Washington's irresponsible budgeting decisions," Rubio charged.

The Tea Party Express called the deal "a baby step backward."

Nevertheless, Ryan is defending the agreement.

"This says let's cut spending in a smarter way, some permanent spending cuts to pay for some temporary sequester relief, resulting in net deficit reduction without raising taxes. That's fiscal responsibility. That's fiscal conservatism," Ryan said.

Ryan believes the House will pass this deal and Murray is confident Democrats will do the same in the Senate.

But whatever happens, Republicans like Thune believe truly meaningful reform will be hard to come by under the Obama administration.

"Tax reform, spending reform, repealing health care, energy policy are a whole series of things that we should be focused on here," Thune told CBN News.

"And yet most of what happens in Washington, it seems like to me at least, is how can we spend more at the federal level, how can we regulate more, how can we tax more and that to me is the opposite prescription of what we need to get the economy growing again," he said.

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