On the campaign trail, House Republicans repeatedly vowed to cut $100 billion in federal spending their first year in office. Once actually in power, though, they tried to put forward just $30 billion in cuts, only to face a backlash from tea party activists. Republicans went back to the drawing board and the Appropriations Commitee came back with $60 billion in proposed cuts.
The GOP has tried to pass this off as $100 billion in cuts by using as a baseline President Obama’s 2011 budget. But this is highly misleading as that budget was never enacted — instead, spending is at the lower levels set the year before.
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who sits on the Appropriations Committee, admitted yesterday that the $100 billion figure is “funny math.” In an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, he went on to acknowledge that the GOP’s cuts are just a “rounding error when it comes to the overall budget and deficit”:
FLAKE: We’re proposing $100 billion in cuts — kind of. It’s a little funny math, as it always is here. But it’s a pretty significant cut to non-defense discretionary [spending]. But that’s a rounding error when it comes to the overall budget and deficit. It represents one-fifteenth of the current deficit that we’re running.
Indeed, Flake is correct in noting that his committee’s budget neither cuts $100 billion nor does much to significantly reduce the deficit. It will, however, cost up to a million federal employees their jobs, slash programs that help women, kill investment in education and transportation, and hurt financial regulators’ ability to do their job.