Annals of Good Timing: Tim Pawlenty Edition

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 13 2011 5:29 PM

Annals of Good Timing: Tim Pawlenty Edition

He comes out against the budget deal:

The more we learn about the budget deal the worse it looks.  When you consider that the federal deficit in February alone was over $222 billion, to have actual cuts less than the $38 billion originally advertised is just not serious.  The fact that billions of dollars advertised as cuts were not scheduled to be spent in any case makes this budget wholly unacceptable. It's no surprise that President Obama and Senator Reid forced this budget, but it should be rejected.

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Around the same time, the AP analyzes the CBO's numbers on the deal:

The Congressional Budget Office estimate shows that compared with current spending rates the spending bill due for a House vote Thursday would pare just $352 million from the deficit through Sept. 30. About $8 billion in cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid are offset by nearly equal increases in defense spending.

...

The CBO study confirms that the measure trims $38 billion in new spending authority, but many of the cuts come in slow-spending accounts like water-and-sewer grants that don’t have an immediate deficit impact.

A separate CBO analysis provided to lawmakers but not released publicly says that $5.7 billion in savings claimed by cutting bonuses to states enrolling more children and reducing the amount of money available to subsidize health care cooperatives authorized under the new health care law won’t produce a dime of actual savings. CBO believes they are simply cuts to spending authority that is unlikely to be used anyway.

But those cuts to mandatory benefit programs, while producing no deficit savings, can be claimed under budget rules to pay for spending increases elsewhere in the legislation. All told, $17.8 million in such savings is claimed but just a tiny portion of it would actually reduce the deficit.

And so Pawlenty, who has no skin in the game, gets to align himself with the Republicans who head to the mat against the deal -- who can say their comrades were duped.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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