As the House gears up to vote on the bill the prevented a federal government shutdown, a Congressional Budget Office estimate says its effects will be extremely limited
"The estimate shows that the spending bill due for a House vote today would cut just $352 million from the deficit through Sept. 30. The budget deficit is projected at $1.6 trillion this year. The study confirms that the measure trims $38 billion in new spending authority but says many of the cuts come in slow-spending accounts such as water-and-sewer grants that do not have an immediate deficit impact."
Even the $38 billion would have been a drop in the bucket, a fact that has conservative Republicans resisting the leadership of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who is trying to marshal the compromise bill to passage:
"With the compromise struck last week coming under greater scrutiny, several Republicans inside and outside Congress rejected the agreement as insufficient, given the modest immediate impact of its $38 billion in cuts. That amount, achieved in part with the aid of budgetary maneuvers, is well below initial Republican aspirations for $61 billion."
President Obama spoke Wednesday
about his vision for reducing the deficit, calling for "a $4 trillion reduction of the national debt over the next 12 years in his latest volley in what is looking to be a protracted war with Republicans over fiscal policy. The plan would include tax increases and reductions in defense spending, two components of the budget that many Republicans have already pledged to shield from Democrats."
"In yet another warning about the perils of not allowing the United States to borrow more, Geithner said it would be deeply irresponsible for lawmakers to use debt limit negotiations for political gains.
Congress must agree to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling or the legal amount that the country can borrow. But Republicans have said they are unwilling to do so without reforms on government spending and have threatened to take negotiations to the deadline."
In other words, the U.S. is talking about heading in one direction while quickly zooming in the other one.