House Liberty Caucus Chairman Justin Amash (R-Michigan) aptly summed up the bipartisan budget deal being pushed by House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic leaders in Washington with this quip on his Facebook page: “Republicans will agree to more spending, and in exchange, Republicans will get higher taxes.”
The deal — negotiated between House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Washington) — would walk back about half of the $100 billion in sequester spending cuts for fiscal 2014 and a quarter of the $100 billion in spending cuts for 2015 in exchange for long-term cuts in mandatory entitlement funding that would — over 10 years — compensate for higher spending now. All of the deal's “deficit reduction” would be far into the future, and every penny of it would eventually come from increased taxes such as a tax increases on air travel (which Republicans are calling “fees”).
“While modest in scale, this agreement represents a positive step forward by replacing one-time spending cuts with permanent reforms to mandatory spending programs that will produce real, lasting savings,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement supporting the Ryan-Murray deal. He also slammed Tea Party and Liberty Caucus members of Congress critical of the deal, saying in a December 11 press conference that “This is ridiculous. Listen, if you are for more deficit reduction, you are for this agreement." Never mind that if Congress can undo some spending cuts now in exchange for spending cuts later, Congress can later undo the promised down-the-road spending cuts, in whole or in part, when the time comes for their implementation.
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