Several of you wanted me to discuss this piece:
The effort in Congress to put together a belt-tightening budget was dealt several setbacks Tuesday as Senate moderates and House conservatives tugged the budget in opposite directions.
Centrist senators of both parties gained support for attaching to the Senate’s version of the 2006 budget a provision known as paygo, short for “pay as you go.” The amendment would mandate that legislation to raise spending or cut taxes would need the support of 60 of the 100 senators unless it was accompanied by enough spending cuts or tax increases to offset its effect on the deficit.
A similar provision adopted by the Senate last year led to a stalemate with the House and no budget at all.
Meanwhile, the conservative Republican Study Committee complained that the House version of the budget did not cut spending enough and demanded a tougher procedure to restrain spending.
Assessing the budget’s prospects, House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle (R-Iowa) said: “This is going to be very difficult.”
“The real challenge for us is in the Senate,” Nussle said. “Last year, they were at least trying. This year, I think they almost gave up before they started the process.”
Members of the Senate Centrist Coalition met Tuesday to pledge support for paygo and to urge other senators to join them. They said all 44 Democratic senators and one independent who typically votes with the Democrats would support paygo, as would five Republicans: Voinovich, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, and John McCain of Arizona.
For the most part, after looking into the matter and reading what would happen if this provision were signed, it is my opinion that is pretty much a waste of time and nothing more than another ‘budget-cutting’ gimmick following in the grand traditions of Graham-Rudman-Hollings and the more recent Family Buget Protection Act.
It appears the ‘pay as you go’ system would provide minimal savings if any, and it does not include entitlements into the calculus. That in and of itself does not mean anything bad, except that this appears to be another quick fix to a general air of irresponsibility. What needs to be done is that our Congressmen need to act with some discipline and say no. Congress can easily pass these quick fix laws to provide budgetary control, but that is all they are- quick fixes. Inevitably, the quick fixes contain exemptions and situations to get around the enforcement mechanism, and, surprise, they are usually used.
While I can understand the sentiments of those who think this might do something, and there may be some who honestly think this is useful, this really is nothing more than a partisan ploy by the Democrats. All 44 Democrats signed on- that means Robert Byrd is now really interested in legislation curbing spending? The same Robert Byrd who ‘stood up for the Constitution’ to fight the Balanced Budget Amendment when he just so happened to be Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee?
It doesn’t take much to put two and two together on this one…