Congress did something that most people thought was impossible, they did a deal on the budget. It increases spending on defense $32.5 billion and on non-defense by the same amount over two years.
Some quick thoughts:
1) $65 billion in new spending isn’t the end of the world. I don’t like the fact the sequester was partially replaced, however some perspective is needed here. This amount represents what will likely be less than 10% of the deficits over those two years. As long as we are unwilling to deal with entitlements, all we are doing is nibbling around the edges.
2) Fiscal conservatives should be mad at Republicans, but not for the reasons why they think. The GOP House leadership went into the negotiations with the goal of not preserving the sequester, but to eliminate the defense cuts that were a part of it. There will never be any real budget cuts as long as Republicans treat defense spending as sacred. This is what should outrage fiscal conservatives because they were never represented in these talks.
3) The political reality is, Democrats in the Senate and President Obama were never going to sign a budget that kept the sequester intact. Thanks to the beating Republicans took as a result of the idiotic “defund Obamacare” shutdown strategy, Democrats saw an opportunity to undo parts of the sequester. They were also aided by the fact that the GOP caucus is divided on fiscal issues. Finally, Democrats had the weapon of a government shutdown to use on Republicans in order to win concessions.
4) From a governing standpoint, this is a very good deal. First of all, it puts in place a normal budgeting process for the next two years. Secondly, it takes away the threat of a government shutdown which in turn doesn’t make the American government the laughing stock of the world. Finally, it shows that our leaders actually can work together to solve the nation’s problems which will help restore the trust the American people have in their government.
All in all, if fiscal conservatives want a better deal, they need to elect more fiscal conservatives. To expect anything better from a divided government was unrealistic in the end.