Rumor has it that House GOP freshmen and the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) led by Jim Jordan beat the snot out of House Republican leadership and that the leadership is working on getting to $100 billion in cuts.
If that happens, it is great news - but there remains a big problem.
The problem is that by being so timid, Republicans are making their overall fight to cut spending all the more difficult. We all know that any cuts proposed will be painted by Democrats and a willing media as draconian and unfair. The poor will be out on the streets, food will be taken from children, etc...
That is why it was (and remains) so critical that Republican leadership get on the offensive immediately. They need to make the case for spending cuts, and that the $100 billion is nothing more than a first step of many more to come. To do otherwise means that we are going to just have more of the same - token cuts to pacify the base, or the Tea Party folks - but no real commitment to changing the culture of reckless spending that permeates Capitol Hill.
The American people gave Republicans license to cut - but Republicans will have to work very hard to do it and explain why it's important as time goes on. The message is simple and goes something like this:
$100 billion is nothing more than a down payment as we begin the real task of getting our fiscal house in order. It reflects only about 7% of the $1.4 trillion deficit we have to close for starters... We cannot sustain this level of reckless spending and continue to mortgage the future of America. To do so continues to undermine our economy and will guarantee that the poor remain poor and that the jobless remain jobless. The government does not create jobs, the American people do. The government does not create wealth - it takes wealth. We promised to cut spending - and we are going to do just that. If President Obama and Senate Democrats want to stand in the way of fiscal responsibility, then they can answer to the American people.
It is time for Republicans to lead - and the $100 billion issue is but step 1 of literally hundreds more steps they need to take. They will never get there if they try to cut corners rather than standing up and doing what the American people asked them to do.