Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) wrote in a Facebook post an hour before the Senate voted that a deal brokered to re-open the government and avert default was “more of a black eye than a victory” and vowed that the continued across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration still counted as a Republican gain.
I’d spin a Republican victory on the shutdown if I could, but I’m not that much of a PR wizard. Many were led to believe that Obamacare could be defunded if Republicans would just stand firm and refuse to pass a Continuing Resolution. A Continuing Resolution was not passed, the shutdown occurred and Obamacare was still funded. That’s more of a black eye than a victory, but we’ll take our lumps and put it behind us.
There is however, much to commend about the budget agreement otherwise. My main concern entering into the CR/debt ceiling debate was to hold onto the gains we’ve made with the Budget Control Act (BCA) that was negotiated during the last debt ceiling debate. Because of the spending cuts in the BCA, federal spending has gone down for two years straight – the first time this has happened since the Korean War. The Democrats have sought desperately to undermine the BCA for the past year (the Democratic budget overspends the BCA by some $90 billion).
The BCA’s spending cuts are protected in this budget agreement. That’s a huge win for Republicans. Now, we’ll have to fight this same battle in January, but getting into next year with the BCA’s spending cuts intact is a big deal.