Republican Sell-out: White House Wins on Budget, Debt

By:  Thomas R. Eddlem
Republican Sell-out: White House Wins on Budget, Debt

The Republican congressional leadership capitulated completely to White House demands for full funding of the federal budget at fiscal 2013 levels and a suspension of the debt limit through February 7. 

In the October 16 votes, the House of Representatives voted 285-144, with 144 Republicans voting nay, and the Senate voted 81-18, with 18 Republicans voting nay. President Obama signed the bill into law shortly after midnight after the evening votes.

“We fought the good fight,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a press conference after the House Republican leadership capitulated. “We just didn’t win.” Boehner and his leadership team, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Ohio), shown in blue tie, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) voted in favor of the bill that failed to make any cuts to federal spending and gave a blank check to the White House to rack up new debt. 

The New York Times accurately summarized the bill in “The Republican Surrender,” a house editorial: "The health care reform law will not be defunded or delayed. No taxes will be cut, and the deal calls for no new cuts to federal spending or limits to social welfare programs.”

The bill funds federal government appropriations at fiscal 2013 levels through January 15, confirms that many federal employees have just finished a two-week paid vacation and suspends the national debt limit until February 7 in a provision of the bill called the Default Prevention Act of 2013. It would also require — in a sop thrown to Republicans — that President Obama verify that those qualifying for subsidies under ObamaCare are indeed qualified to receive those subsidies. The White House panned the provision as symbolic only, and stressed that it would in no way interfere with the funding or implementation of ObamaCare. 

The bill also includes a variety of pork barrel projects, including a $174,000 gratuity to the widow of the recently deceased Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey (who was one of the wealthiest members of Congress, with an estimated personal wealth of more than $50 million) and more than $2.1 billion in new money for work on a dam on the Ohio River, which borders Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's state of Kentucky. (McConnell voted for the capitulation and is running for reelection next year.)

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Photo of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor: AP Images

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