House Republicans yesterday found themselves in a bit of trouble when they tried to explain that the $100 billion in spending cuts that they have been promising was only “hypothetical,” and they intend to actually cut about half of that from the budget. But for weeks, the GOP has been repeating over and over that it intended to lop $100 billion from the budget once it came into power, in line with the plan laid out in the much-hyped “Pledge to America.” Watch a compilation:
But last night, House Republicans made a concerted effort to move the goalposts. For instance, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said that “it’s a matter of looking at it in a calendar year,” while Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that everyone really should be looking at the cuts the GOP will make in 2012. “When the fiscal 2012 budget comes up, we’re going to be cutting,” Ryan asserted. Watch a compilation:
Republicans are arguing that since the continuing resolution passed by the House in December covers government spending until March, they only have half of the fiscal year to work with, thus they can only achieve half their promised savings. However, Republicans knew full-well that a continuing resolution was in place, but still consistently promised to cut $100 billion all the way into the new year. Cantor himself repeated the $100 billion number one day before Republicans were sworn in and adjusted their estimates.
Even the conservative Daily Caller noted the GOP’s budget flub, writing, “Republicans would have known this would happen way back in the fall when they first started using the $100 billion figure. That raises the question of why GOP communications shops did not start using a different figure weeks ago, at the very least, and explaining why it had changed. Instead, it popped up on the day that the national spotlight on them was brightest.”
Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.