Two reports over the past two days by the most credible organizations that do budget analysis prove that, no matter what they say publicly, congressional Republicans don't actually give a damn about reducing the federal deficit or lower government spending.
Each report shows that, for the GOP, the deficit not only comes in no better than second every time, it's not really a serious consideration.
The first report, produced by the excellent analysts at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and released on Monday, shows that last August's GOP-induced fight over raising the debt ceiling increased federal borrowing costs, that is, spending on interest, by a minimum of $1.3 billion. Here's the money quote:
Delays in raising the debt limit can create uncertainty in the Treasury market and lead to higher Treasury borrowing costs. GAO estimated that delays in raising the debt limit in 2011 led to an increase in Treasury’s borrowing costs of about $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2011. However, this does not account for the multiyear effects on increased costs for Treasury securities that will remain outstanding after fiscal year 2011.
(Note for the true budget wonks among us…Watch for this largely unknown acronym --DISP -- or Debt Issuance Suspension Period. That's the formal name for the period when the Treasury can't borrow because the debt limit has been reached.)
The second report is the updated estimate of the budget impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act released by the equally excellent and objective analysts at the Congressional Budget Office. According the CBO, repealing the law as the GOP has vowed to do will increase the deficit by $109 billion over the next 10 years.
In other words, the more-than-30 votes in the House to repeal health care reform that have been orchestrated by the GOP leadership with so much pride and fanfare were also more than 30 votes to increase the deficit by an average of almost $11 billion a year every year over the next decade.
To put this in context, $11 billion is what two federal departments -- Commerce and Interior -- are each expected to spend in fiscal 2012. It's also more than twice the legislative branch budget, about $4.5 billion more than the judicial branch budget, $2 billion more than what the Environmental Protection Agency will spend, almost $3 billion more that the National Science Foundation will spend and almost 10 times the budget of the Small Business Administration.