If anything, I understated the extent of the GOP’s likely budget victory in this morning’s Wonkbook. That’s because I focused on the spending cuts they’re likely to secure, which will exceed the level the House leadership chose as an opening bid in February. But I didn’t say anything about the many “riders” trying to defund Planned Parenthood and NPR and hobble health-care reform and accomplish a hundred other things that have little to do with deficits but lots to do with the wish list that Grover Norquist keeps locked deep inside his volcano lair.
In the end, a lot of those will be dropped. But not all of them. As my colleague Paul Kane reported, “Boehner now thinks that if he cuts a funding deal for the remainder of 2011 that does not include any of the policy riders, the freshmen would lead a Republican revolt.” That’s probably a mixture of true and smart: Boehner is getting better and better at using the threat of his uncontrollable freshmen to achieve policies favored by veteran Republicans. But the bottom line is that in addition to the final spending cuts being larger than what GOP leadership had initially wanted, there’ll also be a few conservative add-ons that no one predicted. All in all, it’ll be an overwhelming victory, at least on the substance of the bill.