Dems to GOP: Stand by 2013 spending deal

Democrats say a deal is a deal when it comes to the first six months of 2013, despite new numbers from the Congressional Budget Office that could give Republicans buyers' remorse.

CBO told House appropriators this week that government spending in 2012 is at a lower rate than anticipated, making it clear that deal on 2013 appropriations will increase spending by $8 billion.

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) agreed in late July to avoid a pre-election government shutdown fight over 2013.

They agreed that Congress will take up a six-month spending bill to keep the government operating after Oct. 1, based on a top-line number of $1.047 trillion. 

The House-passed budget calls for $1.028 trillion in spending, a $19 billion cut.

At the time, Republicans said that the number was acceptable to them because the current rate of spending would approximate $1.047 trillion. At the start of the fiscal year, the CBO anticipated $1.043 trillion and there were signs that the actual rate of spending would be higher.

CBO now has lowered the figure, sources said.

Democrats say they are not going to let Republicans wiggle out of the agreement.

“This has no effect on the agreement. In accordance with the Budget Control Act that Democrats and Republicans passed last year, the top-line number for FY13 is $1.047 trillion, and that is the number we agreed upon for the CR,” said Adam Jentleson, spokesman for Reid.

A House Democratic aide predicted that there would be some “grumbling” by conservatives but that no one has any appetite for government shutdown brinksmanship weeks before the election.

Another aide said that the CBO change was miniscule compared to the overall size of the $1 trillion budget, and should not be surprising.

Shutdown crises in the mid-1990s backfired on Republicans and helped then President Clinton win reelection. Shutdown threats in 2011 resulted in plummeting poll numbers for the newly elected Republican House.

Boehner’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Republicans have said they agreed to the deal to give a new Mitt Romney administration time to come to office and start slashing spending with the cooperation of a GOP Senate next year.