Remember the big budget deal that narrowly averted a government shutdown in April? The one that was going to save $39 billion from this year's budget? Well, it turns out those numbers were a farce.
The Congressional Budget Office reported yesterday that the budget deal will save $122 billion in outlays - over ten years, which is much less than the over $300 billion that Republicans had been touting.
Even worse, the CBO says that spending in the current fiscal year will actually increase - yes, you read that right - by $3.2 billion.
"Total discretionary outlays in 2011 will be $3.2 billion higher as a result of the legislation," the CBO said in a report posted online Monday.
While Democrats chuckled at the CBO vs. the claims of top Republicans, GOP leaders pulled a few strings out of the report and ran with them as fast as they could.
"One thing is clear: congressional Republicans were able to save American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in the long term," said a blog item posted on Speaker John Boehner's web site, under the headline of "CBO Confirms Spending Agreement Provides Real Long-Term Cuts, Support for Our Troops."
Instead of focusing on the $122 billion figure referenced above, Republicans used a CBO figure of $183 billion in savings, arguing that other cuts will help push the total closer to $300 billion over 10 years.
"When taking into consideration interest savings, cuts from all the previous CRs, and all of the rescission savings, Republicans have previously projected these cuts alone will reduce the deficit $315 billion over the next decade," the post said.
Think of this as we really get into the weeds on a budget cutting deal related to an agreement to raise the debt limit - will the numbers really translate into real cuts?