Stung by their stereotyping as the “party of no,” House Republicans eagerly promoted the unveiling of their alternative to President Obama’s budget today — but when they finished speaking, reporters had one big question: Where’s the actual budget? You know, the numbers that show deficit projections and discretionary spending?
There certainly was no hard budgetary data in the attractively designed 18-page packet that the House GOP handed out today, its blue cover emblazoned with an ambitious title: “The Republican Road to Recovery.” When Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) was asked what his goal for deficit reduction would be — President Obama aims to halve the nation’s spending imbalance within five years — Boehner responded simply: “To do better [than Obama].”
When pressed further by reporters, Boehner promised that Republicans would release their actual budget within the next few days and pointed a finger back at the president.After Obama delivered a prime-time speech previewing his budget, Boehner said, “he didn’t offer his details until days later.”
The lack of any statistical heft in their packet left the House GOP stumbling out of the gate as it worked to re-dub itself as the “party of yes,” in the words of No. 3-ranked leader Mike Pence (R-IN). House Republicans unveiled an alternative plan for the foreclosure crisis yesterday, and they are continuing to tout their economic stimulus proposal (along with an erroneous claim that it creates more jobs than Obama’s).
The GOP’s “Road to Recovery” packet, divided into sections on spending limits, job creation/tax reduction, and debt control, is certainly replete with big promises. The plan commits Republicans “to ensur[ing] that the federal budget cannot grow faster than families’ ability to pay the bill” … though it doesn’t explain what metric the party would use to measure the “average” family’s debt burden.
Another section of the GOP budget packet describes “a new tax deduction that allows businesses with less than 500 employees to take a tax deduction equal to 20% of their income” … though it doesn’t explain how much the new tax change would cost, nor whether it would be offset to help avoid increasing the deficit.
Cap-and-trade limits on carbon emissions make an appearance in the budget packet, complete with its GOP re-branding as an “energy tax” — which TPMDC first noted last week. Republicans predictably would make no attempt to combat climate change, but they do propose immediately opening the Arctic and Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling.
If you were wondering how much money the GOP believes that could raise for the taxpayers … sorry, you’ll have to wait a few more days.
Late Update: As Democrats (along with Contessa Brewer) have a ball playing up the GOP plan’s lack of detail, Politico reports that House Republican aides are already squabbling over whose boss thought it was a good idea to unveil a budget that lacked nearly all the essential qualities of budget-ness.
The whole post is worth reading, but this quote from “a GOP aide heavily involved in budget strategy” stands well on its own:
In his egocentric rush to get on camera, Mike Pence threw the rest of the Conference under the bus, specifically Paul Ryan, whose staff has been working night and day for weeks to develop a substantive budget plan … I hope his camera time was gratifying enough to justify erasing the weeks of hard work by dozens of Republicans to put forth serious ideas.
If only the House Republican Conference were a reality show. Pence and Ryan’s aides would have to hash all this out on camera while wielding Nerf bats on a giant log suspended over the ocean, and then sing with Dionne Warwick.