*Government Shutdown

House Republicans Finally Realize the Ryan Budget Won’t Work

We already saw Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget go down in flames when House Republicans attempted their appropriations process on the House Floor (and had to pull from consideration the only bill that was at the Ryan budget level).  Now CQ reports that more House Republicans are recognizing this is an unrealistic budget for the conference committee to consider:

Several House Republican appropriators say they are uneasy with the sequester level of $967 billion for discretionary spending that GOP leadership says is their central priority in the talks aimed at striking a budget deal for the current fiscal year.”

Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said Tuesday that he is ‘very concerned’ about Republicans who say the post-sequester spending level of $967 billion is adequate.”

“Ken Calvert, R-Calif., chairman of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, said the spending level for fiscal 2014, now being negotiated by a budget conference committee likely will need to be between the $967 billion called for in the House budget resolution (H Con Res 25) and the $1.058 trillion approved by Senate Democrats (S Con Res 8). ‘Once you get past defense, Energy and Water, Homeland Security, some of the bills that many of us believe to be priorities in the appropriations process, then you start getting down into these other bills and there’s not enough money there to get a majority or 218 votes, and that’s a problem,’ he said.”

’It needs to be probably over the $967 billion in order for us to pass it through the appropriations cycle or we’re going to be operating, which makes everybody unhappy, under a continuing resolution,’ Calvert said.”

The restiveness of appropriators over the austere funding level has been evident since the summer, when Republican leaders pulled a Transportation-Housing and Urban Development spending bill from the floor and Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., called the overall budget level ‘unrealistic and ill-conceived.’”

Maybe Republicans are finally coming to grips with reality.  Better late than never, especially since the uncertainty around the budget has been a drag on the global economy, as the New York Times reports:

Nervousness about United States monetary policy and fears of a budget and borrowing breakdown in Washington are creating a bigger drag on the global economy than expected, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned on Tuesday. The report was a more pessimistic view of global growth than six months ago.”

“The organization, which has 34 members worldwide, including the United States and most of the 17 members of the European Union that use the euro, said American policy was having far-reaching harmful effects on developing countries like Indonesia and Brazil. Economic problems in those countries will ricochet to the United States and Europe, the O.E.C.D. said, in the form of weaker demand for products from the developed world.”

The O.E.C.D. said another paralyzing political deadlock in the United States like the government shutdown in October could plunge the world into recession, but some economists said that level of alarm was overblown.”

Another prolonged budget impasse would have catastrophic economic effects, the organization said. If Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling, forcing steep government budget cuts and leading to partial default on federal debt, growth in the United States would plunge almost 7 percent and the rest of the world would be pushed into recession, it said.”

There’s no question that it would be irresponsible and reckless for Republicans to recreate the uncertainty from the October government shutdown.  We hope that the budget conferees will heed their colleagues’ warning and negotiate a responsible budget agreement to keep the government open and replace the sequester.