The Washington Post

The Boehner plan has a hiccup

The Boehner debt plan was scored by the Congressional Budget Office, revealing not $1.2 trillion in cuts but $850 billion. The explanation is simple. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) put out a statement: “We’re here to change Washington – no more smoke-and-mirrors, no more ‘phantom cuts.’ We promised that we will cut spending more than we increase the debt limit — with no tax hikes — and we will keep that promise. As we speak, Congressional staff are looking at options to re-write the legislation to meet our pledge. This is what can happen when you have an actual plan and submit it for independent review — which the Democrats who run Washington have refused to do.”

I asked a House aide if the CBO’s $850 billion figure was the difference between using the January 2011 baseline or the March 2011 baseline. The succinct answer was ”yes.” What now? A House source confessed, “They are charting the way forward as we speak.”

Was this a hide-the-ball issue? I find it relatively impossible, given the stakes and the margin for error, that this was a planned effort to lower cuts that the CBO “revealed.” But what the House leadership is doing is smart — put it out there, provide time for rewriting, gather the troops and make good on the promise to cut more than the debt limit is raised.

A final note: It is very likely that the Harry Reid plan, which President Obama endorsed and then slammed last night, has the same baseline mix-up. This, folks, is why you need a regular, open budget process. Somewhere Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who has been counting the days with no Senate budget, is having one heck of an “I told you so.”

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.