House Republicans dial back on promises
January 5th, 2011
03:28 PM ET
3 years ago

House Republicans dial back on promises

Washington (CNN) – Even before House Republicans took control of the chamber Wednesday, there were at least three areas where they appear to be backtracking on promises made: Cutting $100 billion in the first year, allowing opportunities for the minority party to offer amendments on bills, and making public attendance records for committee hearings.

The Republicans ran for office in 2010 on a platform they titled "The Pledge to America," which states they would reduce government spending to 2008 "pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels" and cut "at least $100 billion in the first year alone."

House GOP aides are now backing off that $100 billion figure. They insist they will still cut spending back to 2008 levels, but it won't add up to $100 billion. They insist the reason is because they made the $100 billion calculation based on the budget that President Obama offered, and that budget was never enacted. Therefore, the government is currently running on lower, 2009 spending levels and that will make the dollar figure of the GOP cuts smaller.

Republican aides confirm the "back of the envelope" number they will now use is about HALF the original estimate - $50-60 billion in cuts.

"House Republicans remain committed to fulfilling their Pledge; this has not changed," said Conor Sweeney, spokesman for the House Budget Committee.

"House Republicans will continue to work to reduce spending for the final six months of this fiscal year – bringing non-security discretionary spending back to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels – yielding taxpayers significant savings and starting a new era of cost cutting in Washington," he said.

Being generous to those in the minority was always an objective of the new majority, as articulated by the incoming GOP Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy back before the election:

"Bills won't be written in the back of the room, where the bills have to be laid out for 72 hours, where bills actually have an open rule, where people can bring amendments up on the floor, which any freshman congressman that's sitting there today has never even seen that happen under the rule of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats," McCarthy said on CNN "State of the Union" on October 10, 2010.

BUT – the health care repeal legislation, the first major bill that will move through Congress, will be a closed rule – meaning no one will be able to offer an amendment.

When asked about the this contradiction Tuesday night, Boehner said, "it's not like we haven't litigated this for years."

And, finally, the initial rules package that House Republicans will pass Wednesday had a provision to make committee attendance public. But the House GOP conference voted last night to strip that out (a move by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas). The goal had been transparency – who is at these hearings? But making that public will no longer be a requirement.

The reason? Some GOP lawmakers say they were concerned about getting slammed for missing hearings when they may have extenuating circumstances, like a death in the family.


Filed under: Congress • House Republicans
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Michael in Houston

    yawn.....next

    January 5, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. Tony Z

    Here we go moving backward. If you have a death in the family we understand. You can use an asterik for excused abscence.

    January 5, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. Video Guy

    Does this surprise anybody. The new speaker must have had a meeting at the bar last night and they decided they just cannot handle it.

    January 5, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Fed Up With Politicians

    We never learn ... they are all the same - they lie to get into office and then they retract promises ... the Republicans do this consistently (more so than the Democrats) ....

    January 5, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. JustMe

    Not surprised at all that they would pull these stunts.

    And re this ...
    But making that public will no longer be a requirement.

    The reason? Some GOP lawmakers say they were concerned about getting slammed for missing hearings when they may have extenuating circumstances, like a death in the family.

    That's BS. People would understand if they were out if they had a death in the family. They would just need to make sure that people knew that. They're just making excuses and those excuses are excuse my french ... crap.

    January 5, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    When asked about the this contradiction Tuesday night, Boehner said, "it's not like we haven't litigated this for years."
    -------------------------------------------------–
    They are talking about violating THEIR OWN rules in regards to the healthcare repeal LEGISLATION folks!!
    You voted these corrupt, sneaky, greedy bastards BACK IN to finish off the job that Obama thwarted.
    Already they are backpedaling from their Contract ON America, and they haven't even found out where their new offices are.

    This is what you voted in Bubbas, and silver-haired tea drinking grannies. This is the price we have to pay because so many of you stayed home November 2nd.
    The country was nearly dismantled during their last reign. Let's hope we get lucky again and survive the Second Coming of the AntiChrists.

    January 5, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. Indie Woman in Denver

    Color me surprised! The Repubs are already backtracking.

    January 5, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. jaye

    Having that provision to make committee attendance public taken out, now that's really transparent. They're full of crap!

    January 5, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. Dave

    Well, this isn't a surprise! These tea-tard idiots are going to learn real fast that there's a big difference between running your mouth during a campaign and actually having to govern.

    January 5, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Len

    Promises, promises, promises........as long as big business and the upper 2% get their tax breaks, they did their job. And the American people (middle class) will pay. We forget, in 8 years of GOP rule, we were in two wars(not paid for), no financial regulations( which caused a financial meltdown), tax breaks for ten years to the upper 2%(caused over a trillion dollars in lost revenue). I could go on but I will stop here. We voted in the same party that caused all the problems. Now they want to repeal financial reform, repeal food safety, repeal health care for 32 million people. Seniors, you are recieving new benefits for prescription drugs, they want to repeal, repeal preexsisting conditions, repeal lower costs for insurance... Cut education (we are 20th in the world, not good, but lets cut spending).We made intelligent decisions in November...Not...donot understand how we can vote against our own interests....not very smart!

    January 5, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  11. Grand Obstructionist

    Well well well....I'm shocked, shocked I tell ya. For all you fools who elected these d bags in the first place, prepare for more disappointment from the party of No. It was all about empty promises to get back into power so that they could continue to service the corporations. They don't care one ounce about the "joe Sixpacks" in "real America" that they keep fooling into voting for them.
    Belly up to the bar Boner, Mr Weeper of the House.

    January 5, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. Matt

    AAAww MAN! What a total surprise.

    January 5, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. Rob R

    Puhleeese – worried about getting slammed for missing a meeting because of a death in the family? Really? Do you think we Americans are that dumb and shallow as to not respect someone missing a meeting because of death in the family? Come on. We all know the Republicans don't want transparency. As usual, they talk a good game when they are out of power and come full circle when they are back in.

    We should all be thankful that the Senate is still in Dem control so that NOTHING that passes the House will get to Obama's desk.

    January 5, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    TRANSPARENCY at it's best folks!
    Can we see through Boo-Hoo Boehener yet, or does he have to bre more explicit as to the type of government that is going to work best for HIM and his Big Business Cronies?

    Sniffit: You were on point yesterday with your asessment of how they were going to shut down any discussion vis-a-vis repealing healthcare.

    These GOPers are as incredibly arrogant and defiant, as those that voted them BACK IN are incredibly stupid.

    January 5, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. apib

    HA.....that did not take long.....time to find out if the tea-baggers are really just gop flunkies or are serious about accountability from our elected leaders.....

    January 5, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. nvorr

    And so it begins!

    Boehner, where are the jobs?

    January 5, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Sammy Sosa

    Good job, GOP! I must congratulate you on a PERFECT start. Hopefully, you have set the precedent for the next 4 years so the Dems can capture the house and do the same thing all over again. Am proud of the "change" that you are already making.

    January 5, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Rob

    Huh... Where is the list of campaign promises broke his first day? Heck, the VERY FIRST bill he signed was a broken promise.

    January 5, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans are feeding Americans the same crock of BS that got them in office. So don't complain, Americans are getting exactly what they asked for and the good news is people, there is more BS to come.

    January 5, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Bassackwards

    Republican aides confirm the "back of the envelope" number they will now use is about HALF the original estimate – $50-60 billion in cuts "House Republicans remain committed to fulfilling their Pledge; this has not changed," said Conor Sweeney, spokesman for the House Budget Committee.

    They haven't even started and already they're backing off. When is the American voter going to realise that they caused the economic problem. How can they end it? They can't ! Their only hope it to continue blaming the Democrats and hope the public is stupid enough to believe them!

    January 5, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. T'sah from Virginia

    Yep – during the campaign the RepubliCAN'Ts dialed "M" for Murder on "Everything" they felt was going against President Obama.

    NOW, they want to dial "HUWAM" for "Hold Up – Wait A Minute" because they CAN'T do all of what they have promised and it will be HARDER than they think to go against President Obama!!!

    The American people I know are NOT stupid and already figured this out!!

    Let's just dial "BO" for Barack Obama and ask him to continue to MOVE AMERICA FORWARD in the right direction!!!

    January 5, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. AZ Dem

    Now the truth about what the Republicans are REALLY gonna do comes out. Its not like we are surprised...if all of these pledges were capable of being acheived why as the minority party didn't the GOP put forth the ideas??? Because they KNEW it wouldn't pass or wasn't feasable...its not rocket science they said what people wanted to hear to win and now that they have 2 years to do what the wish they are going to do just that.

    January 5, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. GonzoinHouston

    Snort! That didn't take long, did it? "We'll cut $100 billion!" "We'll have a balanced budget and lower taxes!" "We'll have transparent, honest, open government!" "It won't be business as usual any more!" The truth is it will be None of The Above. Never mind what they say in public, what matters is what they try to pass and what they don't. So far it's been tax cut for the richest 2% and a steamroller vote on healthcare repeal that will never get out of committee in the Senate. You voted for it, folks!

    January 5, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. informed voter

    None of this is surprising. Only a fool would think these Republicans are going to suddenly change their stripes and actually do the things they said in their campaign. America just voted in the party that almost drove this country into disaster. Too bad we still have a large portion of our great nation living with a Civil War mentality.

    January 5, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    WHAT A JOKE!! All the morons who "voted for change." Nothing changes in Washington....

    January 5, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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