Lots Of Noise

Bob Schieffer
Each week, CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer gives us his take on the news from the Nation's Capital.

When the Senate passed that budget deal Friday that included a $1.2 trillion tax cut, all sides claimed victory.

"We're keeping the President's promise to cut taxes," said the Republicans.

"But we forced them to use some of the money they wanted for tax cuts to help education," said Democrats.

A bipartisan group of moderates pointed out that it all happened because they pushed both sides to compromise.

They're all right, but here's what they didn't talk about: None of the above amounts to doodly squat. Congress didn't write any tax legislation last week, it simply approved a blueprint for spending.

In the old days, the president sent a budget to the Capitol, the appropriate committees divided it up, decided which programs to approve, how much money to give them, there was a big fight and that was that.

Then someone decided that it would be easier to control spending if Congress first approved an overall spending plan so the law was changed to include a spending blueprint.

It worked well until Congress realized that whatever the blueprint, Congress could make changes just as a person building a house can add a garage long after an architect has drawn up plans.

When Congress approves its blueprint, it is following the law and it gets lots of publicity and that's what Congress did last week.

But here's a friendly tip, don't spend your tax savings just yet. Congress still has some work to do on that.

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