The Note: Searching For Light

The New York Times' Robert Stevenson Notes the Hill's doubts about the budget but then reports that " . . . there are factors working in the White House's favor. The Republican leadership on Capitol Hill has tightened its control over the appropriations process by installing committee and subcommittee chairmen who are more inclined to support leaner budgets than were their predecessors." LINK

Carl Hulse quotes Judd Gregg as saying there will be "angst," Robert Bennett as saying there will be "anguish" and Denny Hastert calling the budget a "starting point." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's editorial board says "hooray" -- for deficits. "It is taboo to say this. And every editorial writer and politician in America will spend the next week denouncing federal red ink. But that's all the more reason for someone to point out that the much-loathed budget "deficit" is the main, and perhaps the only, reason we may finally get some federal spending restraint."

"That's the real news in yesterday's Fiscal Year 2006 budget proposal, the first of the Bush Presidency that seeks to restrain the growth of non-defense federal spending. At $2.57 trillion in new outlays, we are not exactly talking Beltway hardship. But any restraint will shock a political class that for the last several years has spent more on everything."

The New York Times' editorial board likes a few of the cuts, dislikes many others, and suggests that if President Bush was honest about cutting the deficit, his budget would reflect it more precisely. LINK

The Washington Post's editorial board gives the budget a big thumbs-down, calling President Bush's priorities out of whack. LINK

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), in a Washington Post op-ed, writes that some serious advocacy on behalf of education, health care, and worker safety is going to be needed in the face of this budget, which is why he's staying chairman of the subcommittee on labor, health and human services, and education. LINK

Re: the above: Yeeeeeeeeeeouch. Over to you, NRO's Corner. LINK

FY06 Budget: defense:

Weird: in Shailagh Murray's article cited above, she writes: "For Republicans, some of the toughest cuts to swallow are those hitting Pentagon procurement." But in an article on the DOD, two writers report that "Weapons procurement remains steady at $78 billion for fiscal 2006 but is projected to leap by 17% and 11% a year in 2007 and 2008, respectively."

Per the Wall Street Journal: "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is pressing ahead with the modernization of American military forces in the face of White House pressure to curb spending, but those goals face considerable challenges within the Defense Department and in the U.S. Congress."

"The $419.3 billion defense budget announced yesterday hews to Mr. Rumsfeld's vision of faster, more-flexible fighting forces and high-tech weaponry at the expense of traditional aircraft and ship programs that were designed to fight conventional military forces, not guerrillas."

FY06 Budget: social programs:

Sarah Lueck in the Wall Street Journal outlines the President's Medicaid reform bill, which says it would save about $60 billion.

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