The House bill represents the largest one-time cut ever in discretionary spending, but of course, it has no chance of surviving intact in the Democrat-controlled Senate. On top of that, according to media reports, Obama would veto it if it passed, which it won't. Meanwhile, the deadline of March 4 is near when another hike in the debt will have to be approved by Congress if no budget is passed. Or the government will shut down, we're told.
The Capitol Hill game of chicken is on. Brinksmanship looms. Already Dems are hoisting that old canard, "The Republicans want to shut down the government."
It's the same old battle over spending versus cutting.
All Cabinet agencies would take cuts of up to 12 percent under the $1.2 trillion measure that sailed through House 235-189 on a partisan vote. But as for details of the cuts, they have been scarce in the reporting. The media generally focus on cuts to things that make the Republicans look bad. For example, Bloomberg refers to cuts in "aid for schools, nutrition programs, environmental protection, and heating and housing subsidies for the poor" plus an increase of less than two percent for national defense.
The House voted to block any federal funds for Planned Parenthood and cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, an action which one news service said "would kill" the agency which received $422 million last year although its member stations raise portions of their funds from private sources.
By a vote of 249-176, the GOP threw a body block on the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to sock power plants and refineries with new restrictions on carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases blamed for dreaded global warming. Under the bill, the EPA could not even collect data on the gases. On that front, GOP congressmen from California and Virginia won votes blocking the removal of hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River and an EPA anti-pollution plan targeting farms and cities around Chesapeake Bay.
The biggest moral victory for newly elected Republicans and their fellow partisans - along with a majority of Americans - was the approval of amendments to block provisions of Obamacare. Again, the Senate will have its say, but the issue is in the federal courts and undoubtedly will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
What the House bill does not address are the elephants in the room - Social Security pensions, and Medicare and Medicaid health care programs, huge issues that are left for another day, maybe, who knows?
Now Obama and the Democrats again face the question of seriously cutting spending and reducing out-of-sight deficits. Will they join Republicans in starting to get spending under control - or will they keep playing chicken on "shutting down the government?"