House GOPers want to cut enviro and other programs to pay for rebuilding

Rebuilding the Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is expected to run the feds around $200 billion. A group of House Republicans called the Republican Study Committee has unveiled an “Operation Offset” plan with proposed budget cuts to pay for the massive expenditure. While this nostalgic exercise in fiscal discipline — what used to be called “conservatism” — has no chance of being enacted by today’s pork-happy, deficit-lovin’ congressional leadership, it is a revealing look into the bowels of the Republican agenda. Programs up for evisceration include those that fund clean energy, clean fuel, energy conservation, public transit, and fish and wildlife habitat. And that’s just the environmental cuts; the bulk of the money would come from social welfare programs like Medicare that benefit the less well-off. Energy-company subsidies go unquestioned, of course. And though repealing the last two tax cuts for the wealthy alone could cover the cost, well … let’s get serious.