House Republicans dial back on promises
January 5th, 2011
03:28 PM ET
4 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. DOC

    Liars, liars, liars. But then again, I never expected anything else.

    January 5, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Vet in TX

    Yes America, we are all taken aback by the lack of yelling, screaming, cussing, fussing, and holding up signs by the tea party for this, they lied to you when they said they were going to cut $100 billion, they lied to you when they said they would be transparent, and they lied to you about pretty much every figure they gave you on anything. They are taking America back, back to their bank accounts and coffers, and bilking the racist and naive of their hard earned dollars all because "he's not like us, he's not American, he's ruining the country, he's corrupt, etc, etc. You've let Palin and the others lead you by the nose right over the cliff of reality. They have already broken the pledge not 2 days on the job.

    January 5, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. Chris

    Here we go again. Just got elected and all campaign promises are forgotten. Does not matter the party all these guys are the same. Its all about power and money while the rest of us, who still have a job, have to work for a living. I say cut the pay for these clown to minimum wage with no benefits and see how real Americans have to live.

    January 5, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Jaime

    Well of course they aren't going to deliver on the good promises. You know the ones they made to the people. But the ones made to their corporate masters will definitely be acted upon. MORE DEREGULATION!!! The companies that made record profits in the last 2 years without hiring need more of it.

    January 5, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Carmelle

    The last point tells you everything you need to know about those guys. They got on their high horses when Obama and the Dems cut deals with Pharma for healthcare to pass. That was the worst kept secret by the way. And now, after they peed on their fellow t-baggers with all those lies, they can't even bother to wait to change the rules.

    Washington always wins. Welcome to reality t-baggers.

    At least I stand with the party who at least try to do something for the middle class (i.e. consumer protection agency, medicaid, immigration, student loan program, BP trust fund, etc).

    Obama/Clinton 2012

    January 5, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. something

    liars...every stinking one of them...

    January 5, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. Dave

    "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."

    Anyone who believes that this is the real reason should immediately go to New York and put a bid on the Empire State Building because I hear it is for sale. Christ, what a lame excuse. This reasoning couldn't fool a 5th grader. At least do a plausible lie.

    ""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."

    Are we allowed to slam promises this early in the game (after all, there was no honeymoon for Obama)? So now the tea party bozos don't want amendments. Next come the brown shirts in the gallery.

    "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."

    Nothing like lowering the bar on expectations right away. The new congress is not even one day old and they are aiming for mediocrity. Just like a politician.

    January 5, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. Publius 13

    Surprise, surprise, surprise! And just wait for the Senate! Ron Paul has $500B worth of cuts in his back pocket. Right.

    January 5, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. Major General

    Republicans offered "The Pledge to America", and they backtracked within hours of becoming majority party. Talk about politics and where are the tea baggers now....

    January 5, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. Please

    surprise surprise

    January 5, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. John B. From NH

    I'd love to say this is a surprise.. but sadly you reap what you sew. How do you like your "new" GOP, Tea Party?! what a bunch of self righteous D.B.'s!

    January 5, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Former Republican - Now Independent

    Methinks I heard a flip being flopped – thrice!

    January 5, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. CK in MN

    "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."
    Imagine my surprise!!!

    January 5, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Brent

    Shame on anyone who voted for those pathetic liars!

    January 5, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. Dea

    There's always something, some reason, that promises can't be fulfilled. Just because the party in charge has changed doesn't mean the status quo has changed. Different Party Same Stuff.

    January 5, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. Mr. Moderate

    Not even one day in. Using the standards they have applied to to other party – they LIED to the American people and have proven themselves to be cowards by not wanting to cut programs people need.

    January 5, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Marie MD

    And we are surprised about this because? The people who voted for them should be ashamed but that is nothing new either.
    I see that they are taking DCs voting rights yet again. They did it under the newt and now under the crying orange man.
    WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO MAKE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT THE RETHUGS COULD CARE LESS ABOUT THE LITTLE PEOPLE WHO CONTINUE TO STUPIDLY VOTE FOR THEM? THEY ARE IN FOR THEMSELVES, FOR MONEY AND FOR THEIR RICH FRIENDS. CAN'T WAIT UNTIL THE NEXT ELECTIONS AND MAYBE "STUPID" WON'T BE THE CATCH WORD FOR VOTERS NEXT TIME AROUND!

    January 5, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. HAHAHAHAA

    Already flip-flopping I see. FLIP FLOP! FLIP FLOP! FLIP FLOP!

    January 5, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. VM

    Clowns. They campaigned using emotional rhetoric that made some people angry enough to vote for them. On the first day they fold up instantly.

    January 5, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  20. DIANA

    I hope those of you who voted Republicans are happy with yourself. Are they thinking about jobs, no their first order is to get rid of healthcare – something that helps a lot of us who are struggleing, ( I have insurance so it doesn't affect me one way or another). Cutting down on Medicare for the elderly – talk about death panel. Grandma has to decided whether to pay for her prescriptions or buy food. I guess I should buy stock in cat food, because that's what a lot of people are going to be eating thanks to these thiefs.

    January 5, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  21. Dad of a Diabetic

    Republicans will try to keep their promise to make every type 1 diabetes and cancer striken child and young adult in America uninsurable for the rest of those sick chidrens' lives. Parents of children with deadly diseases are not raising their whiskey glasses to toast the new Speaker, but they are living in fear of what the Republican Party is going to try to do to their children. A child with type 1 diabetes or cancer is Lazarus and the Republican Party is the Rich Man who is indifferent to the suffering of Lazarus!!!!!! One day everyone who reads this may have a child or grandchild with a deadly disease, and everyone will have to ask themselves the question did I help prevent this child from getting health insurance????

    January 5, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. Sandra, Atl

    For you folks that were stupid enough to think they would be different, you are getting just what they really intended to do in the first place. How can you continue to believe them? Term limits for all!!!!!!!! The only doors that will be open to the GOP is big business and secret donors who spent mega bucks through their secret PACS and organizations to tell people anything they wanted to hear (didn't matter about truth and integrity at all).

    January 5, 2011 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  23. john

    That noise you hear in the background are the tea party people wailing in agony as the GOP backtracks on every "promise" made to those gullible enough to believe them. Don't forget this is the party that brought us massive earmarks, lobbyists writing regulations and statutes for their GOP lapdogs to pass, and utter disregard for the plight of the middle class. Cheers!

    January 5, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. Send in the Clowns!

    Get ready America for the GOP circus. Moving the goal post already.

    January 5, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. Patrick from Minnesota

    Not so easy having accountability, now is it?

    January 5, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
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