The kind of political fight we’ve longed to see finally broke out in Washington last week as Republicans battled other Republicans over whether to cut a lot from the federal budget, or to cut even more than a lot.
Democrats, who lost control of the House in November’s election, can be thanked for this rare opportunity. When both houses were controlled by Democrats, Congress was unable to pass a budget for the current 2010-11 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.
Meanwhile, a wave of Republican candidates — whose November victories gave the GOP control of the House — pledged during the campaign to find $100 billion in budget cuts for next year, 2011-12.
These new Tea Party-energized representatives now want to apply the $100 billion in cuts to the current year’s budget, but GOP House Speaker John A. Boehner’s proposal so far has fallen short, providing for cuts of “only” $74 billion. That’s not all that bad, considering we already are more than one-third of the way through the fiscal year.
Hand-wringers lament the infighting.We applaud it. A year ago it would have been unthinkable to suggest that the party in control of the House would be battling over whether to reduce federal spending at all, let alone bickering over whether it should be cut $74 billion or $100 billion.
After decades of profligate spending that has deepened the national debt and dampened the nation’s economy, what’s not to like about this?