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Tuesday
Mar082011

Harry Reid: GOP Spending Cuts Threaten Cowboy Poetry Festival

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- While lawmakers in Congress fight over whether to cut spending for the rest of the fiscal year by $6 billion or $57 billion, consider this: The government in February racked up an all-time record monthly deficit of $223 billion, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

That was CBO's preliminary estimate based on the January deficit figures and the daily Treasury Department statements during February. It's not the official deficit figure that the government releases -- that will come from Treasury later this month.

But Senate Republicans on Tuesday highlighted the CBO estimate in an attempt to rip Democrats for not going far enough in their proposed cuts.

"Washington will add more to the debt this week than they want to cut for the entire year -- and that's the farthest their leaders say they're willing to go," the Senate's top Republican Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor. "Anything more, they say, is Draconian. I'll tell you what's Draconian: Draconian is what happens if Democrats don't get real about our nation's fiscal crisis."

"Democrats are going to have to do a lot better than this if we stand a chance of getting our nation's fiscal house in order," he added. "Frankly, it's embarrassing. The American people deserve better than this. It's time for Democrats in Washington to face facts. And, as I said yesterday, it's time for the president to get off the sidelines and lead."

Democrats, on the other hand, argue that the GOP plan goes way too far.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid cited "a cowboy poetry festival" in Nevada as evidence of the harmful cuts that the House-passed spending bill would make.

The House GOP's bill, Reid said, "eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist."

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