How Exactly Do They Renege?

I know Tim already talked about this, but I guess I am just not understanding the details of what is going on here:

Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives are ready to break a hard-fought budget deal with Democrats as they try to quell a revolt by conservatives who are insisting on deeper spending cuts ahead of the November elections.

House Republican aides said on Tuesday that House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor were pressing for a modest $19 billion reduction of discretionary spending caps in this year’s Republican budget plan.

How exactly do they renege on the deal? I thought the agreement was a law, passed by both houses, signed by the President, and a done deal. How do they go back on the law without another law passing both houses and going to the President. What am I not getting here?

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87 replies
  1. 1
    Cluttered Mind says:

    From what I understand they’re threatening another government shutdown if the Democrats don’t capitulate to their latest set of petulant demands.

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    The law describes how the budget will work. The new budget authorization law can repeal any old law. Even if they never actually repealed the old law, they can pass a law that ignores the rule and pretty much nobody has standing to sue.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    The Dangerman says:

    Boehner holds his breath and Orange Dude turns Blue?

  5. 5
    chopper says:

    it’s wingnut math. and logic. you can’t fight it.

  6. 6
    butler says:

    Come on Cole, don’t you know the rules of Calvinball?

  7. 7
    trollhattan says:

    I think the nugget is this:

    The August 2011 deal to end a summer debt limit drama – which nearly prompted a first-ever default on U.S. Treasury debt – called for a $1.047 trillion cap on discretionary spending for fiscal 2013.

    Some kind of provisional deal for the coming fiscal year. Honestly, I lose track of when there’s a budget signed and delivered and when there’s just a series of continuing budget resolutions in the absence of an actual budget. That was SOP in the Reagan years.

  8. 8
    Comrade Dread says:

    How exactly do they renege on the deal?

    I’m going to go with the safe bet of “yelling a lot about Greece, fascism, sluts, and the oppression of the rich white man by lazy moochers” and “threatening to do jack and shite about jobs, the economy, and any other threat facing the nation until they get their way and then continuing to do jack and shite about all of the above after they get their way.”

  9. 9
    Roger Moore says:

    What am I not getting here?

    You’re assuming that this is an actual attempt to achieve something tangible. It isn’t; it’s electioneering. They’re trying to position themselves as the noble defenders of fiscal conservatism and balanced budgets and the Democrats as a bunch of big spending liberals. They probably hope it will be shot down so they don’t have to suffer the consequences of actual spending cuts.

  10. 10
    BGinCHI says:

    As soon as the economy tankage hits the Villagers this shit will stop. So far they seem to have some magical protection against the party who are fucking up everything around us.

  11. 11
    CaliMatt says:

    As Atrios frequently notes…you can’t tie the hands of a future Congress. That’s why all of these long-term “deals” to fix SS, Medicare, etc., are idiotic. Future Congresses will do whatever they want to do.

  12. 12
    Steve in DC says:

    If they pass a new budget that one goes into law and the old one is out. It’s as simple as that. Furthermore Democrats generally view budgets as the floor of what to spend, Republicans as the ceiling. So there is nothing stopping either side from coming around later and torpedoing the deal. There are also legal issues about how binding that part o the law is.

    If Democrats actually cared about things they’d go forward with a budget and insist on spending increases for various projects that create jobs. But they don’t, so the Republicans beat them out of the gate with a plan for more cutting and spending slashing and then that’s the debate.

  13. 13
    kindness says:

    They’re reichtwingnutz…..doesn’t matter what they agreed to yesterday. Today is different.

  14. 14

    @CaliMatt:
    I’ve been saying that through the various budget and debt negotiations. All Obama gave away were long term promises that we’ll totally rein in spending ten years from now. Those promises were themselves pretty bland, but since when has congress ever lived up to them? ‘And we won’t spend any more money next year than this year, honest!’ is not worth the paper it’s printed on.

  15. 15
    Warmongerer says:

    @CaliMatt:

    Which is how Obama drank Republicans’ milk shake repeatedly.

    Obama got everything he wanted right now and in exchange he had to make cuts we wanted to make anyways at some point in the future.

    And then the left said he’s incapable of negotiating.

  16. 16
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @BGinCHI:

    It’s called money. Once they are out of that they’ll ‘get religion’.

    Until then, they are part of the problem.

  17. 17
    Seanly says:

    A budget still has to be appropriated. They can pass an appropriations bill with 0 to X dollars where X is the amount in the last budget bill.

    For instance, back when we had a current highway bill, the budget would call for say $55 billion in spending the 3rd year of six. Congress would only appropriate maybe $42 billion that year and then through the magic of accounting, get to claim a $13 billion savings on say the Iraq war or anything they fancied while also saying they spent $55 billion on highways.

    It’s the same trick they use to defund anything they don’t like such as ACA and various non-military agencies.

  18. 18
    peggy says:

    The end result of this standoff could be yet another impending government shutdown, as the government’s current spending authority expires on September 30.

    Think Progress
    After Labor Day and before November seems to me a great time to shut down the government. When is the World Series?

  19. 19
    mai name says:

    Because they are Republicans. Because they have their own spethal math. Because, well because …there does not have to be a reason when they want to fuck Obama cuz he’s a blak blak blakitty blak blak sothulist Kenyan muslim… did I forget to mention… blak… man.

  20. 20
    Anoniminous says:

    @Seanly:

    This

    Plus a legislative body cannot forbid future actions that lies within the power or competence of that legislative body.

  21. 21
    Steve in DC says:

    @kindness

    Except nobody really agreed to… anything. Don’t confuse the debate, that’s how we got into this stupid mess in the first place.

    The budget was passed with a cap at x amount.

    Republicans “that cap was just a cap, doesn’t mean we can’t cut less”

    Democrats “uhhh, shit”

    This is just the way these stupid things work. We didn’t negotiate a budget that said “things will cost X with the ability to spend more less as needed” nope, that would be smart. Instead we pulled a full retard and negotiated a budget and said “this is the most we can spend no matter what” and now the GOP is playing the Democrats for fools on it.

  22. 22
    milo says:

    @Steve in DC: Furthermore Democrats generally view budgets as the floor of what to spend, Republicans as the ceiling.

    Thanks for the laugh Steve in DC. What Republicons regard concerning the budget is dependent on what party is in the White House, what they can secure for their donors and general vandalizing of economic security for anyone else.

  23. 23
    Groucho48 says:

    During the last impasse, Dems and Reps came to an agreement on how big this coming budget would be. Smaller than Dems wanted. Larger than Reps wanted. You know, a compromise.

    But, Tea Party Congressfolk don’t believe anything you tell a Democrat is binding. It’s like in that old John Wayne/Henry Fonda movie, Fort Apache. Wayne makes an agreement with the Injuns. His commander, Fonda, says, no we are not going to follow the deal. Don’t worry about breaking your word. It doesn’t count against Injuns.

    Now, in the movie, Fonda got his comeuppance from the Injuns. In the real world, Republicans will take a minor one week media hit, at best.

    That’s one of the reasons fiction is so appealing.

    And, yes, one Congress can’t really constrain a future Congress, but, these guys are the same Congress. Boehner, in his role of Speaker, made a deal. Now, Boehner, under fire from TP Reps is pretending he really didn’t make a deal. (Politifact will rate this characterization as “Mostly True” because he didn’t pinky swear.)

  24. 24
    Daaling says:

    I cannot understand why you cannot make this website do the most simple things. Like you know, not show the mobile version randomly. Not show the front page chronologically. Also randomly.

    So let’s call it even.

  25. 25
    David Koch says:

    The debt ceiling deal is a bit of a misnomer. It calls for budget targets, but they still have to affirm those targets by voting on yearly budget bills. There’s nothing requiring them to vote for the targets in prospective future budgets.

    If you remember Gramm-Rudman-Hollings during the late 80s, that also too called for budget targets, but they always ended up suspending the implementing the deal.

  26. 26
    Suffern ACE says:

    19 billion is a rounding error.

  27. 27
    Steve in DC says:

    @milo

    No even under Republicans. This is how they defund things they don’t want.

    Congress passes the budget. That doesn’t mean the funds are there for it yet. Come time to pay up they point out that this is a ceiling, not a floor, and thus we can always spend less.

    They use this trick to bleed anything they don’t like to death.

    Deals with them don’t work. We need to take the congress back.

  28. 28
    John O says:

    @The Dangerman:

    When Boehner holds his breath he turns green.

  29. 29
    thymezone says:

    As long as they call “psych!” they can cancel the deal and score points with the cool kids.

  30. 30
    Cluttered Mind says:

    This is all just further proof that Republicans cannot be negotiated with and cannot be compromised with. They can only be defeated. If there’s any hope of governing this country it needs to be done in spite of them, not with them. They’ve been flat out telling us this for years, I’m surprised it’s taken so long for Obama to listen.

  31. 31
    redshirt says:

    @thymezone: Double crossies too negate any deal.

  32. 32
    dogwood says:

    @Steve in DC:

    Republicans “that cap was just a cap, doesn’t mean we can’t cut less”

    This makes no sense.

    I gather you’ve only been in DC for a short time, or have only followed politics for a two or three years because Republicans are pretty big spenders when one of their own in in the WH. Medicare Part D, the Wars and tax cuts weren’t exactly fiscally sound decisions. But continue on.

  33. 33
    Suffern ACE says:

    I’m glad there were details on what they are planning to cut. In the past this would be something like cut IRS enforcement budget to 0 do they can say they tried to reign in an out of control agency.

  34. 34

    They can, when appropriating a passed budget, change the terms and funding of that budget, but will have to get 60 votes on each item to bypass the Budget Act in the senate.

    It can be done in committee markup also, before voting for appropriations, but the wingers run into a similar problem there being in the senate minority, and also Harry Reid has some authority to make leaders changes as well, to then be voted on in appropriations on senate floor.

    What I think is happening, is that it is just now dawning on these morans, that Obama stole their cookies with the debt ceiling deal, with a head fake to a supercommittee that got the wingers all excited they could gut them some medicare and maybe SS, but the dems on that panel did their bad cop part, and the nutters ended up with a pig in a poke, with two triggers upon failure, that both were pro dem for cutting. Mil spending and medicare provider cuts. And now they are pissed like morons usually are, when they realize they are morons and have been shook down. So we get this shit. But I don’t think the auto cuts can be changed without voting again on them, and dems are just going to let the wingers twist in the wind. They may end up letting some of the mil cuts be stopped, but not much.

  35. 35
    Steve in DC says:

    @dogwood

    No I grew up here.

    They’ll defund anything their party doesn’t like as a whole.

    The fiscal situation of it doesn’t matter to them, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about cutting programs Republicans don’t like.

  36. 36
    taylormattd says:

    @Daaling: omg, the mobile site thing is driving me NUTS.

  37. 37
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cluttered Mind:

    This is all just further proof that Republicans cannot be negotiated with and cannot be compromised with. They can only be defeated.

    Listen, and understand. That terminator is The Republicans are out there. It They can’t be bargained with. It They can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it they absolutely will not stop, ever, until you the Democrats are dead.

    Amazing how well that works.

  38. 38
    taylormattd says:

    @Cluttered Mind: Very true. Therefore Obama should hold a press conference, yell, scream, and literally say “FUCK YOU REPUBLICANS”.

  39. 39

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    And I would add, that the House can just not bring up the budget deal for appropriating the monies called for, for running the government, usually due about Oct, and also, the current temp funding deal runs out about then as well. I could be wrong on those counts, but think not. So then they will have the ability to shut down the government, if they so choose.

  40. 40
    Veritas78 says:

    Fine. We’ll win the Presidency in a landslide, take back the House by a large margin, and get 60+ senators again. 2010 will have been the high-water mark for what will have been the Republican party. Bring it on.

  41. 41
    Jeff says:

    @peggy: same as it usually is, around the end of october.

  42. 42
    Zifnab says:

    I think we may want to consider that this isn’t exactly a savvy move by the Republicans to begin with. Republicans control the House. They should be trying to preserve incumbency. Making their constituents miserable doesn’t strike me as a winning strategy.

    But hell, what do I know?

  43. 43
    mk3872 says:

    I’m sure this is all Obama’s fault

  44. 44
    dmsilev says:

    @Veritas78:Can’t you give us a resounding cry of *VICTORY!*? You know, for old times sake?

  45. 45
    Ash Can says:

    OK, lemme get this straight — the House GOPers are going to do their shut-down-the-government act, which made them ever so popular last time, including with their big-money backers, mere weeks before the election. A big election. For president. And for themselves.

    I believe that’s what you call dialing the awesome up to 11.

  46. 46
    dogwood says:

    @Cluttered Mind:

    They’ve been flat out telling us this for years, I’m surprised it’s taken so long for Obama to listen.

    I think the President knows the score on this. It’s the American people who haven’t paid attention or been listening. The MSM has also turned a blind eye to what is going on.

  47. 47
    middlewest says:

    I’m thinking back fondly on all the times I was told Obama should negotiate with repubs “like a rug merchant”, and he was a complete failure for not doing so. I wonder how a fictional left-wing rug merchant would deal with this turn of events…

  48. 48
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dmsilev: I think this is a different dude.

  49. 49
    TenguPhule says:

    Amazing how well that works.

    So the solution is to blow their legs off with homemade explosives and then cursh their skulls under a machine press?

    I like it.

  50. 50
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    See the last line of your next post.

    How exactly do they renege?

    Because SHUT UP, THAT’S HOW!!

  51. 51
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Steve in DC:

    If Democrats actually cared about things they’d go forward with a budget and insist on spending increases for various projects that create jobs. But they don’t, so the Republicans beat them out of the gate with a plan for more cutting and spending slashing and then that’s the debate.

    I’m not one to argue against the fecklessness of the Congressional Democrats, but since (a) all budgets must originate in the House and (b) the Democrats are in the minority in the House, how do you expect the Democrats to do what you propose?

  52. 52
    TenguPhule says:

    OK, lemme get this straight—the House GOPers are going to do their shut-down-the-government act, which made them ever so popular last time, including with their big-money backers, mere weeks before the election. A big election. For president. And for themselves.

    Popcorn futures rise to an all time high.

  53. 53
    lacp says:

    I doubt the President was surprised by this turn of events. These people aren’t very bright, but they’re rather predictable.

  54. 54
    Karen says:

    IOKWTABP. That’s the GOP and their sycophants in the media policy.

  55. 55
    The Bobs says:

    The economy is improving and they are getting worried. A little financial crises before the election is just what they ordered.

  56. 56
  57. 57
    dmsilev says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Certainly sounds different, but given the name how could I resist?

  58. 58
    Fwiffo says:

    If it’s actually possible for Republicans to renege, then Democrats bought a pig in the poke in the first place. Which should be surprising to exactly nobody.

  59. 59

    @Fwiffo:

    If it’s actually possible for Republicans to renege, then Democrats bought a pig in the poke in the first place. Which should be surprising to exactly nobody.

    Let’s see. Republicans renege on a deal, and its still a democrat problem. Awesome logic. The republicans control the House of Reps, so the voters handed them a means of destruction with whatever recipe they dream up. And even if dems still had the House, the senate filibuster could accomplish the same thing. By jerking a knot in the funding government process.

    Nothing, or any action or deal is forever in congress, especially budgetary matters. It is not democrats fault that the voters elected a pack of nihilist jackals to govern them. And they, and we, will just have to weather the consequences and do the best we can with the situation.

    Unless you are suggesting imposing martial law, or something like that. The Tea Tards seem to have become addicted to the adrenaline rush of hostage taking and the drama that ensues. That is their way of doing politics, that is just short of outright armed rebellion. Maybe the voters need some more education on how their republic is being wired with political explosives by the folks they last voted for, and do better next election. If there is anything left to do better with.

  60. 60
    Cain says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Just like that kid in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” :) (who did turn orange and also turned blue)

  61. 61
    WyldPirate says:

    I thought the agreement was a law, passed by both houses, signed by the President, and a done deal.

    Hmmmm. Time for a trip back into the BJ archives. I seem to recall a bunch of crowing by the Obot brigade here about how Obama backed the Rethugs into a corner on this budget deal and had them over a barrel.

    Back in a few….Ready your excuses Obots….

  62. 62
    Rick Taylor says:

    As I remember one of the arguments in favor of cuts in the previous budget deal involving raising the debt limit was with Republicans controlling the house, we were going to have to compromise, and at least this way we had a deal that ensured funding levels and meant we wouldn’t have to deal with a budget fight and potential shutdown until after the next elections.

  63. 63

    @WyldPirate:

    and had them over a barrel.

    They are still over a barrel, genius. And begging for some more Obama package. Now they are begging to be electorally destroyed by threatening to shut down the government a month before the election. What about that kind of political win don’t you understand?

  64. 64
    Heliopause says:

    How exactly do they renege on the deal?

    I assume you read Atrios?

  65. 65

    @Rick Taylor:

    They can’t renege on the debt ceiling raise deal, without voting again, at least the parts passed about Obama getting to raise the debt ceiling limit till after the election. Nor can they undue the auto cuts from failure of the supercommittee. They can, maybe, shut down the funding of the US government, but I’m not certain they can before the election. Will wait for more info on that.

  66. 66
    Donut says:

    How exactly do they renege on the deal? I thought the agreement was a law, passed by both houses, signed by the President, and a done deal. How do they go back on the law without another law passing both houses and going to the President. What am I not getting here?

    SATSQ:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ata_player

  67. 67
    ShadeTail says:

    Maybe I missed it in the comments above, but has anyone actually answered Mr. Cole’s question and explained how the repubs can renege on this? Is the agreement to slash the Pentagon budget not actually a law? Or do the repubs have some way to repeal it or maneuver around it?

  68. 68
    Original Lee says:

    Boehner is saying that what was passed last August was a spending cap, so they can pass an appropriations measure that uses lower numbers and still be OK.

  69. 69
    Heliopause says:

    @ShadeTail:

    Maybe I missed it in the comments above, but has anyone actually answered Mr. Cole’s question and explained how the repubs can renege on this?

    Do you read Atrios? He’s explained many times in his typically succinct fashion. The House passes a bill saying we’re spending X on Y. Voila. What, did you think the budget deal was an amendment to the Constitution?

  70. 70
    Tim P. says:

    @ShadeTail: From what I gather (I’m no expert), they can refuse to pass an appropriations bill allocating funding for what’s been agreed upon in previous legislation or they could pass one in the house that would be unpalatable to senate Democrats, thus, if the situation remains unresolved, causing a shutdown.

  71. 71
    Steve in DC says:

    @ShadeTail

    Not all of the agreement is binding, and you can’t legally tie the hands of a future congress (which is why kicking the can down the road never works as people just ignore it). Furthermore if they pass a new budget, that one instantly over writes the current one they have making it null and void. Next the Republicans interperate the spending cap as just a ceiling for spending, not a binding number, so they can come in lower, but not higher.

    Lastly they can always shut down DC and take the economy hostage if they don’t get what they want.

  72. 72
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ShadeTail: It sounds like the answer is that what was agreed to was a budget figure, but the appropriations process doesn’t have to spend 100% of that figure, so the Republicans want to try to appropriate less than was budgeted. I don’t know if The Deal was presumed to be about the budget or about appropriating 100% of the budget. But I’m no expert, I’m just reading between the lines. Anyone else?

  73. 73

    I think what it is going on, after looking around some is

    Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) has said. The end result of this standoff could be yet another impending government shutdown, as the government’s current spending authority expires on September 30.

    I’m pretty sure this has to do with the existing emergency funding of government, that was issue the first gov shutdown. That was an oral agreement, but not directly under the debt ceiling deal, which was voted on and is law. The wingers want 19 bil in future cuts for pol reasons nearing the election, or apparently, they are threatening to not re authorize the emergency funding bil, that is not related to the debt ceiling deal.

  74. 74
    muddy says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero): It’d be great if they shut down the gov’t in September, right before the election so their lunacy will be fresh in people’s minds.

  75. 75
    Jim Pharo says:

    I believe they’re being charged with “attempted reneging,” still a serious charge.

  76. 76
    Linnaeus says:

    And if I was the president, the minute the Congress called my name, I’d say, “Now who do, who do you think you’re foolin’?”

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    I’m assuming that they’re also going to try to play their game of, “We’re not going to submit a budget until you tell us what to cut.”

  78. 78

    @Mnemosyne:

    I don’t think they really have a game right now. It is pure impulse and free associative scheming that changes one day to next. The only way this can have a substantial impact, is to not extend temp emergency funding past the fiscal year end, on September 30. This was an oral agreement that was part of the debt ceiling deal, but not directly part of it that was passed into law. Otherwise, if they don’t plan on leveraging another shutdown just before an election, it is just so much blather. They are truly insane, or with attention spans of 3 years old’s, one impulse to the next.

  79. 79
    Jimbo316 says:

    @MikeJ: Except that the President vetoes and they can’t override.

  80. 80
    marv says:

    How can they do it? You mean existentially, right? My conclusion after lo some 59 years on this planet is that Republicans are severely stupid, severely mean-spirited, and because they are so convinced of their moral superiority, severely immoral. And just because I’ve been around for the whole show, I would say I personally don’t trace it back to Goldwater but to the southern strategy of Nixon. Haven’t really trusted one of the mofos since.

  81. 81
    Jimbo316 says:

    @milo: Yup, cf. Bush 2001-2009 and especially 2001-07. Also the astronomical increase in the budget during Reagan’s 2 terms.

  82. 82
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Jimbo316: Not sure anyone will read this, but economists talk about “revealed preferences,” the idea that actions are a better guide to people’s true preferences than what they say.

    Based on this, the Republican economic priorities are 1) tax cuts (good for whatever ails the economy!), 2) benefit cuts to social programs, and 3) military spending. I’m not entirely about the order of 2 and 3.

    Social control legislation is the only thing that may, on occasion, trump priority #1 above.

  83. 83
    erlking says:

    Marv–Nail. Head. Hit on. Thank you.

  84. 84
    SKI says:

    Out of mobile view jail.

  85. 85
    J.R. says:

    @Heliopause: No, not a constitutional amendment. But you also need to get that budget bill approved by the Senate AND signed by the President.

    Not too likely either of those two required steps will take place.

  86. 86
    Heliopause says:

    @J.R.:

    you also need to get that budget bill approved by the Senate AND signed by the President.

    Thanks for the Schoolhouse Rock lesson, but we already knew that. That wasn’t the question. The question was, “how can they renege???” Well, it’s quite simple, you pass a bill that says, “fuck that last bill, here’s a new one.” How they get it through the Senate and President is a separate question, and we all know they have a jolly bag of tricks with which to attempt it.

  87. 87
    NCSteve says:

    The Republicans are claiming that the “budget deal” just set caps on the amount they were allowed to spend and when the actual appropriation bills are approved they’re allowed to appropriate less than that.

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