Coburn: ‘Yes,' Federal Spending Will Be Higher in FY 2012 than in FY 2011

August 2, 2011 - 5:44 PM

Tom Coburn

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)

WASHINGTON (CNSNews.com) - Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) told CNSNews.com that the Budget Control Act of 2011 does not actually cut spending for fiscal year 2012, which means the federal government will spend more in FY 2012 than it did in FY 2011.

Shortly before the Senate vote on the debt ceiling legislation on Tuesday, CNSNews.com asked Coburn: “Under this current debt ceiling bill, will the federal government spend more in fiscal 2012 than it did in fiscal 2011?”

Coburn's one-word response: “Yes.”

CNSNews.com followed up by asking, “So this is not a bill cutting spending?” He replied, “No.”

The Senate passed the Budget Control Act 74-26 on Tuesday, beating the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law today.

The act allows the president to request a debt ceiling raise of $400 billion immediately, then another $500 billion in the fall dependent upon congressional approval. Through spending caps, the GOP leadership managed to achieve dollar-for-dollar spending cuts over the next 10 years.

By December, a joint committee must decide on $1.2- $1.5 trillion in spending cuts to allow the president to request to borrow an equal amount. If the committee cannot decide, or the Congress does not approve the cuts, a “trigger” occurs, which will equally cut hundreds of billions from both defense and non-defense discretionary spending.

But according to the Congressional Budget Office, almost all the cuts would be made in 2014 or beyond. Discretionary spending would be cut $21 billion in 2012 and $42 billion in 2013.

As CNSNews.com has reported, some GOP members of Congress are skeptical about whether the cuts will appear in the next 10 years.

“S.365's proposed spending cuts are far too small, and the fact that they are far into the future calls into question whether they will ever actually occur,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) explained.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said in a statement: "this compromise simply does not go far enough and relies too heavily on out-year cuts. Under this compromise, in FY2012, spending is cut by only $44 billion. In the same year, Obama will increase spending by over $300 billion. Clearly, we are not cutting enough."

The federal government currently faces a $14.29 trillion national debt, and a $1.4 trillion federal spending deficit.

"President Obama says he wants a balanced approach," said Inhofe. "What we need is a balanced budget."