Operation Offset is the name given by the House Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group of conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives, to the $543 billion spending-cut plan they propose to offset the cost of the Hurricane Katrina "relief and reconstruction effort" of the Gulf Coast. 
"Offsetting" the Military
"The Republicans have put their cutting efforts in military terms, calling it 'Operation Offset' - a further insult to the men and women in uniform they are now trying to screw over," David Sirota wrote September 22, 2005. "The specifics are ugly. They are, for instance, asking troops to 'accept reduced health care benefits for their families.' Additionally, 'the stateside system of elementary and secondary schools for military family members could be closed.' In the past, this idea 'has faced strong opposition from parents of children attending the schools because public schools [in and around bases] are seen as offering lower-quality education.'
"None of this, I suppose, is all that surprising," Sirota said. "In the past, we've seen tax cuts put before making sure troops have adequate body armor heading into war - a tax/budget decision that very likely increased U.S. casualties. We've also seen Republicans vote down efforts to reduce tax cuts for the very wealthy in order to restore cuts to military family housing. And we've seen tax cuts come as the White House has refused to adequately fund a variety of other programs for troops. The truth is, the GOP has in moments of candor admitted that they care about cutting taxes for the wealthy far more than they care about the troops.
"As you may recall," Sirota wrote, "it was Tom DeLay who said before the Iraq invasion 'Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes.' Apparently to the Republicans, nothing is more important in the face of a war AND massive destruction to the homefront than cutting taxes either."
- Dana Milbank, "Support for Troops Questioned. Democrats Detail Bush's Cuts in Military Family Benefits," Washington Post, June 17, 2003.
- Rick Maze, "GOP lawmakers propose cuts to offset Katrina costs," Army Times, September 21, 2005.
- James Joyner, "Lawmakers Propose Defense Cuts to Offset Katrina Relief," Outside the Beltway, September 22, 2005.
Some of the Proposed Spending Cuts
- "delaying the start of the new Medicare prescription drug coverage for one year to save $31 billion and eliminating $25 billion in projects from the newly enacted transportation measure." 
- "eliminating the Moon-Mars initiative that NASA announced on Monday, for $44 billion in savings." 
- "ending support for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, $4 billion" in savings. 
- "cutting taxpayer payments for the national political conventions and the presidential election campaign fund, $600 million" in savings. 
- "charging federal employees for parking, $1.54 billion" in savings. 
Support for "Operation Offset"
- News Release: "FreedomWorks Members to Rally in Support of Operation Offset. Dozens to attend and show support for House effort to fund Katrina relief with budget savings," FreedomWorks.org, September 21, 2005.
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Hurricane Katrina: List of related pages
- Rebuilding the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: domestic policy initiatives
- U.S. budget deficit
- U.S. tax cuts
- Ronald D. Utt, "The Katrina Relief Effort: Congress Should Redirect Highway Earmark Funding to a Higher Purpose," Heritage Foundation, September 2, 2005.
- "From Tragedy to Triumph: Principled Solutions for Rebuilding Lives and Communities" (WebMemo #835), Heritage Foundation, September 7, 2005.
- Edwin Meese III, Stuart M. Butler, and Kim R. Holmes, "From Tragedy to Triumph: Principled Solutions for Rebuilding Lives and Communities," Heritage Foundation, September 12, 2005.
- Brian M. Riedl, "A 'Victory' Over Wasteful Spending? Hardly" (WebMemo #839), Heritage Foundation, September 14, 2005.
- Ronald D. Utt, "Congress Faces Pressure to Surrender Pork for Flood Relief" (WebMemo #841), Heritage Foundation, September 15, 2005.
- Bill Berkowitz, [http://www.mediatransparency.org/story.php?storyID=85
"Heritage Foundation Capitalizes on Katrina: Washington, DC's premier right wing think tank puts forward a laundry list of conservative proposals to rebuild the Gulf Coast,"] Media Transparency, September 15, 2005.
- John R. Wilke and Brody Mullins, "After Katrina, Republicans Back a Sea of Conservative Ideas," Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2005. (WSJ subscription required; article posted on Hullabaloo website.)
- Brian M. Riedl, "Hurricane Costs Send Budget Projections Deeper into the Red" (WebMemo #844), Heritage Foundation, September 16, 2005.
- Carl Hulse, "G.O.P. Split Over Big Plans for Storm Spending," New York Times, September 16, 2005.
- Stuart M. Butler, et al., "How to Turn the President's Gulf Coast Pledge into Reality," (WebMemo #848), Heritage Foundation, September 16, 2005.
- Audrey Hudson, "'Operation Offset' aims to cut transportation fat," Washington Times, September 19, 2005.
- Scott Shields, "'Operation Offset' - GOP May Cut Medicare to Pay for Katrina," MyDD, September 19, 2005.
- "Introducing 'Operation Offset'," Heritage Foundation Policy Blog, September 20, 2005.
- Tim Chapman, "Operation Offset." Townhall.com, September 20, 2005.
- Andrew M. Grossman and Ronald D. Utt, "Pelosi Leads the Way on Highway Bill Give-Back" (WebMemo #852), Heritage Foundation, September 21, 2005.
- News Release: "TCS Praises RSC'S Operation Offset," U.S. Newswire, September 21, 2005.
- "Nation's Largest Taxpayer Group Backs Bid to Trim Budget Fat, 'Offset' Katrina, Rita Costs," U.S. Newswire, September 21, 2005: "... the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) reported 'ready for duty,' armed with brains as well as grassroots brawn on behalf of budget restraint."
- Carl Hulse, "Lawmakers Prepare Plans to Finance Storm Relief," New York Times, September 21, 2005.
- David Donnelly, "Operation Corruption," Daily DeLay, September 21, 2005. Read what is not being proposed for cuts.
- David Sirota, "Protecting tax cuts, GOP proposes cuts to military health care," Working for Change, September 22, 2005.
- Liz Ruskin, "Bridges targeted among proposed cuts. BUDGET: "Operation Offset" says money would be better spent on helping Gulf Coast," Anchorage Daily News, September 22, 2005.
- Karen Rutzik, "GOP group calls for cuts in federal retirees' benefits to fund Katrina relief," GovExec.com, September 22, 2005.
- Julian Borger, "Hurricane aid used 'to test out rightwing social policies'," Guardian Unlimited (UK), September 22, 2005.
- David Lawder, "US agency says tax breaks too costly, need review," Washington Post, September 23, 2005: "Tax breaks such as deductions for home mortgage interest and state and local taxes cost the federal government $728 billion last year and need to be reexamined, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report on Friday." Although not directly a part of "OO", you can be sure to hear now how this is "SO" important to get under control "because of" Katrina.
- Max B. Sawicky, "Offset This," Tom Paine.Common Sense, September 23, 2005: "But let’s be perfectly clear: There is no new budget crisis, nor is there any particular need at this time for offsets."
- Jim Snyder, "'Operation Offset' meets resistance," The Hill, September 27, 2005.
- Elana Schor, "With small budgets of their own, groups cheer push to cut spending," The Hill, September 27, 2005.
- Editorial: "Whose Fault Is Pork?" Washington Post, October 2, 2005.
- William Greider, Squeezing the Have-Nots, The Nation, October 13, 2005.