Dems to consider $197 billion in ’emergency spending’ without offsetting any of it

May 25, 2010 04:39

Democrats in Congress have added $173 billion in new spending to the federal deficit in just three months since they passed a law requiring that any new expenditures be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget.

By Jon WardThe Daily Caller

They will try this week to add another $197 billion in two separate measures. The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a package of extensions in government aid to unemployed Americans, Medicaid funding for states, and tax breaks that will add $134 billion to the $1.4 trillion deficit.

The Senate is expected to vote this week on a $63 billion supplemental spending bill. Half of that amount would go to the war in Afghanistan. The rest is for aid to Haiti, settlement of land claims with American Indians and discrimination claims of black farmers, compensation of war veterans exposed to Agent Orange, foreign aid to Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, and replenishment of the government’s disaster relief fund.

Republicans, who oppose some of the spending outright, say that at the very least all but the $33 billion that the Pentagon needs to continue funding a surge of 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan should be offset by spending cuts.

“Anything that’s not directly related to fighting the wars should be paid for,” said Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican.

But so far, it appears that Democrats plan to escape their own rules that require them to offset new spending by declaring the measures to be “emergency spending.”

Another $23 billion in emergency spending on the nation’s schools is waiting in the wings as well.

Aware that moves toward spending discipline are needed at a time when the national debt is approaching the $13 trillion mark and deficits are slated to add another $10 trillion to that over the next decade, President Obama on Monday proposed to Congress legislation that would allow him to pick items out of legislation sent to him by Congress and mark them for elimination. The measure would give Congress final veto power, however, over whether the president’s cuts are approved or rejected.



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