Behind the Scenes, Debt Ceiling Negotiations Continue

Posted: May 18, 2011 10:43 PM
While the last-chance debt ceiling negotiation got extended to August 2nd, leading legislators look to target student loans, farm subsidies and overgenerous pensions. Jon Kyl said they're aiming for $150-200 billion in cuts.

Republicans want to allow interest to accrue on loans to undergraduates still in school, at a savings estimated at an additional $46.5 billion over 10 years. Unlike the White House, the GOP would apply all of the savings to deficit reduction.

Republicans have called for $27.7 billion in farm program savings through the end of the decade, as compared with about $5 billion in Obama's budget last February.

While lawmakers might actually achieve meaningful spending cuts as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, the Left is hyperventilating that Republicans would dare use an important issue that highlights the country's fiscal irresponsibility to try to pass policy that restores a little sanity to the federal budget.

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne wrote,

Boehner needs to push things to the brink because the Tea Party members of his caucus believe that last year’s election gave the GOP a “mandate” to make their wildest small-government dreams a reality. Boehner is trying to appease the right with extended rounds of shadow-boxing and big slabs of anti-spending rhetoric.

Dionne is essentially saying this is all a sideshow, and the GOP should stop playing games. Now, in light of the incredible shrinking continuing resolution, there's reason to believe that Boehner is just conducting a charade and doesn't care about real budget cuts. But it sounds like there is a possibility of some real cuts being achieved.

The real issue that the Left has with this is that they couldn't stand to see some of their pet projects get cut. They think that the federal government should be incentivizing an increasing number of students to go to colleges they can't afford. They think that public workers deserve their overgenerous pensions. The bloated state is under attack, and they're worried the GOP is getting real traction behind a movement to meaningfully cut federal spending. And that is why the Left circled the wagons to whine that the GOP is "playing politics" with an important issue.