That's quite a bunch running things back there - and they're about to cause some real problems over the next couple of weeks with their insistence on $100 billion worth of indiscriminate cuts that would do very little to control the nation's deficit woes. They haven't reached that number - yet - but there will be efforts today to slash even further. California would feel the pinch big time - the state receives about 12 percent of overall federal funding for many programs. "It's a whole lot of craziness, actually," said Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove. From the Sacramento Bee:
The Republican funding bill, for instance, includes a 25 percent reduction in Head Start funding. For California, this amounts to a cut of roughly $123 million, affecting to some degree the 100,000 children currently enrolled. At the other end of the school spectrum, the House bill reduces the maximum Pell Grant for college students by $845, to a new maximum of $4,015. This would squeeze students from families of modest means. Between them, for instance, Sacramento State, Fresno State and Stanislaus State universities enroll about 23,000 students using Pell Grants.
No doubt there's stuff worth cutting (high-speed rail seems misguided even in concept). But since the bulk of the budget problems center on defense and entitlement spending (Medicare and Social Security), what's being played out on Capitol Hill is worse than pointless. In fact, one amendment that could force the U.S. Capitol Police to lay off hundreds of officers even caught the eye of California Republican Rep. Dan Lungren. "I understand and fully support efforts to reduce federal spending, but I cannot and will not support a cut that will be of such great consequence to the safety of this institution."
Democrats in the Senate will torpedo the nonsensical package, of course, but what happens after that? Current funding for the government expires March 4. Failing to reach some sort of compromise would result in a shutdown. House Republicans - well, the crazies and morons anyway - seem ready to force the issue.
*The L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce is joining with labor leaders in denouncing the House budget plan. They'll be at the City Hall Rotunda this afternoon at 2 with the mayor, members of the City Council and others.