The Washington Times - August 3, 2011, 11:34AM

* UPDATE 1- Chairman Ryan’s budget office responded to my inquiry about the language discussed below and said that the budget chairmen in both houses would not have the authority to add additional budget spending to fiscal year 2012. However, Rep. Ryan’s office has not yet responded to my question as to what the language actually does mean.



Republicans touted over one trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending over the next ten years as part of the debt ceiling bill passed by both the House and Senate and later signed in secret by President Barack Obama.

However, as a result of the rule that brought to the floor the Budget Control Act proposed by House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, questions are now circulating about power to change the 2012 budget being handed over to the House and Senate Budget Chairmen. One number floating around the hill is $34 billion could actually be added to 2012 spending.

On the House side, the rules are whatever the majority establishes they are and every bill that comes to the floor will also be accompanied by a rule set by the majority on the rules committee. The rules set the length of debate, whether or not it’ll be open rule—whether or not the majority will allow amendments…etc. In this case, the rule used to bring the final debt ceiling bill to the floor gives the “Chairman of the House and Senate Budget Committees to make budgetary adjustments  to reflect the adjustments in spending limits.”

The language was inserted on page 2 of the 9-page section-by-section House bill:

THIS language was inserted that allows House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, to make changes to the budget, the Ryan Budget, which already passed the House.  Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat, is also authorized to make changes on the Senate side.

The House has been working off of the Ryan budget all year to set and pass the 12 appropriations bills the House must pass annually. This rule language allows the budget committee to authorize more spending for fiscal year 2012, the budget the House is currently working on. 

The House budget authorizes the level of money spent.  The House Appropriations Committee spends the money in the appropriations bill.

Here’s the kicker. A highly placed source on Capitol Hill tells me that the House Budget Committee is already authorizing the Appropriations Committee to spend an additional $34 billion in fiscal year 2012 using letters of authorization under this new power Chairman Ryan has been granted.

The Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee received these allocations, or allowances, as provided for in the House passed budget.

The committee can then work within these budget numbers and write the 12 appropriations bills authorizing payment. The 12 approps bills can then be passed by both chambers and be signed by the president.  All this make up the full funding of the federal government agencies. It is within these allocations that my source tells me that an extra $34 billion has already been authorized to be added in.

Consider this. In order to pass the debt ceiling plan, cooperation from both Republicans and Democrats was needed to pass it. Unlike the days of TARP, the stimulus package, and health care bill There are no more earmarks to buy off lawmakers to vote a certain way because earmarks are no longer allowed.

However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any horse trading going on behind closed doors.  Could that be why this power over the budget to insert new spending for next year was given to the budget chairmen?

An inquiry on the language of the rule was sent to Chairman Ryan’s budget office, and I am waiting on a response.