Thursday, August 02, 2007

OMB Nomination in Limbo

The nomination of former Congressman Jim Nussle to head the Office of Management and Budget is at risk. A primary reason is a dispute on discretionary spending: President Bush wants to limit this spending to $933 billion while Democratic leaders want up to $955 billion. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has threatened to shortchange some Bush initiatives if the overall discretionary spending is too low with border security and implementation of certain veteran health care reforms potentially cut.

The pattern of an ex-member of Congress no longer being a sure thing at confirmation hearings has been in place since John Ashcroft, so nothing really unusual here. What IS unnerving in the era of "Porkbusters" is the level of discretionary (unrestricted) domestic spending: nearly $1 TRILLION? This is 10 TIMES the total federal budget of only about 40 years ago, including the early part of the Vietnam war. Also, keep in mind that this does NOT include Social Security, food stamps or other entitlement spending.


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