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Bush Backs Budget Cuts

This could be a very important story. Then again, maybe not.

To date, the White House has been mostly AWOL on the efforts to control federal spending that have emerged in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Yesterday, President Bush gave a speech to the Economic Club of Washington, in which he said he was “open” to across-the-board budget cuts, and also endorsed finding set-offs to balance hurricane relief spending. The full text of Bush’s speech is here. A key paragraph:

I met with the leader of the House and the Senate today, and we’re working on a plan for pushing significant reductions in mandatory and discretionary spending. Both Houses are on progress — making progress toward cuts that will show the American people we’re capable of being wise about the money, and at the same time, meet our priorities. I encourage Congress to push the envelope when it comes to cutting spending.

The liberals are always going to hate President Bush, basically for existing. If he wants to get anything done during the three years remaining in his term, he needs to shore up his standing with his party’s conservative base. As we’ve said many times, that requires action–not just talk–on two key issues: illegal immigration and spending. In the last week, President Bush has made rhetorical gestures on both issues. That’s a start, but it won’t mean anything unless the talk is followed up with meaningful action. And, with the Democrats likely to make gains in next year’s elections, the administration is running out of time.

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