On Bush’s Accusation of Democratic Irresponsibility

Richard Kogan reviews this GOP spin:

The Administration has charged that these funding levels represent large, fiscally irresponsible increases in federal spending that would threaten fiscal stability and the economy. It has threatened to veto most of the forthcoming appropriations bills. The Administration’s sharp criticisms have been echoed by a number of Republican congressional leaders, such as Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), the ranking minority member of the House Appropriations Committee, who accused the Democratic majority of “spending lust.” Some 147 House Republican members – more than one-third of the House membership – have pledged to sustain the anticipated vetoes.

Richard says this GOP spin is at odds with the facts:

Some 81 percent of the $53.1 billion increase in appropriations under the emerging bills consists of increases for military and homeland security programs that the President himself requested. (These increases are not related to Iraq and Afghanistan, which are classified as “emergency spending” and hence not included in this analysis.) This 81 percent figure climbs still higher when one takes into account the congressional increases for the State Department and international affairs that the Administration also requested. Less than one-tenth (or $5 billion) of the $53.1 billion funding increase reflected in the congressional targets for the 2008 appropriations bills is for increases for the eight domestic appropriations bills.

Let’s review his table one that compares inflation-adjusted 2007 spending to the proposals from the White House versus Congress. The $53.1 billion increase that Congress is proposing represents a 5.9% increase in total discretionary programs. This breaks down into the following components:

Military/Homeland Security is $45.7 billion, which is an 8.9% increase.

International Programs is $2.4 billion, which is a 7.4% increase.

Domestic Spending is $5 billion, which is a 1.4% increase.

The White House proposal arrives at an increase of only $29.8 billion by advocating that domestic spending be reduced by $16.4 billion. OK, if domestic spending is supposed to be reduced in real terms, isn’t time for the GOP to fess up which specific programs get slashed?