This morning, several reports said that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and the White House are close to settling on a level of spending cuts for the remainder of 2011. The so-called compromise would put spending $33 billion below current levels (or roughly $74 billion below President Obama’s 2011 budget request). However, Boehner said during a press conference today that “there is no agreement on numbers and nothing will be agreed to until everything is agreed to.”
President Obama has consistently said that he’s willing to meet the GOP halfway when it comes to the level of spending cuts. But if this is where the deal ultimately lands, Democrats will have come three-fourths of the way from the Obama budget to the $100 billion below that budget ($61 billion below current spending) that the Republicans passed in their bill, H.R. 1. Here’s a handy version of the situation, in graphic form:
Whether measuring reductions from current spending or the Obama budget, it’s clear that Democrats have moved significantly, while Republicans have offered nothing in return. As Center on Budget and Policy Priorities president Robert Greenstein wrote, “that’s been the story of the fiscal 2011 appropriations cycle — a story of the goal posts being moved by Republican demands for ever deeper cuts; Democrats moving toward these deeper cuts over time; and Republicans charging that Democrats have not offered enough by way of cuts.”
Still, Boehner today asserted that “we are going to fight for H.R. 1” and all of its economically destructive cuts. Even at the “compromise” level, the cuts would undermine competitiveness and job creation, in an already weak economy.