I know you have been waiting with baited breath.
On Friday, the House voted 238 – 179 in favor of eliminating the use of inflation when calculating future year spending.
All Republicans voted yes; all but four Democrats voted no.
The implications for defense budget wonks: in the future, we no longer need to decide whether to use “real” or “nominal” increases in the Pentagon’s budget. No need to factor in inflation. Forget about “deflators.” Republicans say so.
Budget expert Stan Collender correctly characterized the exercise as “the silly season – when ridiculous, reckless or just plain irresponsible budget-related plans or ideas are proposed and, sadly, often debated.”
As a Washington Post article this morning pointed out: “Ending adjustments for inflation in agency budget projections is unlikely to have much immediate impact.”
Well, duh, particularly because the Senate is likely to yawn away the House action.
Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) explained: “When is an increase not really an increase? Only here in Washington, Mr. Speaker, can we spend $10 last year and $12 next year and call that a budget cut. Only here. The Baseline Reform Act eliminates that.”
Perhaps Louie Gomhert (R-TX) revealed the hidden “Russ Limbaugh-made-me-do-it” excuse: “During my days when I was a judge, I heard a guy named Rush Limbaugh bring up why do we have this automatic increase, because then when conservatives try to slightly decrease the amount of increase, they’re said to be making draconian cuts. Well, I made a mental note.”
The Democrats tried to counter, of course, but they were outnumbered.
Said Rep. Rosa DeLauro: “By eliminating inflation from our official budget considerations, this bill represents a freeze on all discretionary programs that, over time, would become a devastating cut to critical programs. Within 10 years, all discretionary programs would see their funding slashed by as much as 20 percent. Among the priorities that would be gutted are scientific and medical research, financial aid for college students, assistance to elementary and secondary education, and investments in water and sewer systems.”
Another fun day on the House floor.