From $100B - to $61B - to $4B

I don’t get it.

After wimping out on their pledge to cut $100 billion from this year’s budget, the House Republicans passed a measure that would reduce spending by $61 billion. That’s not what they promised and not what Conservatives wanted – but it was enough to send Democrats into a tizzy and stir up fiery accusations and counter-accusations of the dreaded Government shutdown.  

Harry Reid growled, and the Republicans ran for the tall timber.

Out of nowhere, the House Republicans have offered to present a proposal to extend the Continuing Resolution for two weeks in exchange for an immediate concession by the Democrats of $4 billion in cuts.  Eric Cantor was one of the architects.  In what was shaping up to be a high-stakes game of chicken, the Republicans blinked first and crumbled even before Congress was called back into session to do battle. Republicans didn’t lose the fight – they never showed up for it.

I don’t get it.

This is not 1995. We weren’t staring at a $1.7 trillion deficit back then or a $14 trillion National Debt. Unemployment wasn’t at 9% nor were more than half the states facing fiscal insolvency. But Cantor and the Republican leadership apparently don’t think they can defend themselves when all the fingers are pointed their way. Four billion dollars – are you kidding me?

But wait – it gets worse.

Of that $4 billion, $2.8 billion of that is cutting earmarks from the budget that both sides have already agreed to eliminate. So the real reduction proposal is $1.2 billion. That’s a long way from $100 billion. And it’s light years away from the staggering $1.7 trillion hole we are looking at this fiscal year.

I don’t get it.

What does Cantor and the Republicans think will be different two weeks from now? That poor can can’t take too much more kicking. And this time, it’s got the Republican footprints on it.

I just don’t get it.