Setback for conservatives as many Republicans reject sharply deeper cuts
February 18th, 2011
05:26 PM ET
4 years ago

Setback for conservatives as many Republicans reject sharply deeper cuts

Washington (CNN) - In a highly visible setback for fiscal conservatives in the House, many Republicans joined the majority in rejecting an additional $22 billion in budget cuts after heated interparty debate.

The Republicans' free-wheeling and open approach to debate over a resolution to fund the government offered insight into disagreements within the party that played out on the House floor Friday. The head of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, authored an amendment that would have cut 5.5 percent from non-security funding across-the-board-slashing $22 billion more than the $60 billion the GOP leadership already had committed to cutting. The measure failed 147 to 281, with 92 Republicans and all Democrats voting against it.

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, had earlier encouraged members to build on the billions in cuts they had already voted to support.

"House conservatives believe we can do more," he said. "Let's do more. Let's do $22 billion more. Let's under-promise, over-deliver and set this nation back on a pathway toward fiscal responsibility and reforms."

But some Republicans had echoed Democratic concerns the cuts were haphazard and went too far. House GOP leaders Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, and California Republican Kevin McCarthy voted against the measure, but Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas voted for it. Speaker John Boehner did not vote, as is traditional for the speaker.

"Across-the-board cuts are lazy members' way to achieve something," said Rep. Dan Lungren, R-California, a member of the RSC.

Idaho Republican Mike Simpson, a senior member of the Appropriations committee, defended the level of the cuts in the overall bill and said the committee's approach to look at each agency separately was preferable to across the board cuts.

"This goes too far," Simpson said.

California Democratic Rep. Sam Farr said the bill was indiscriminate and ineffective.

"What you're seeing with this amendment is you're taking a meat axe to essentially a bloody mess," he said. "If we really wanted to deal with debt, you deal with a plan to get rid of debt, not just with a hacking and hacking away."

Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Florida, told his colleagues that while he was new to Congress, he was not new to fiscal responsibility. He faulted those opposing the $22 billion in cuts for not taking reform seriously.

"You know, I hear the word 'meat axe' and 'draconian,'" Southerland said. "What's 'draconian' and 'meat axe' is leaving every American in this country with $43,000 of national debt."


Filed under: Budget • Republicans
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. pw

    The republicans have the brain of a five year old.

    February 18, 2011 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. bachman's a jerk (farm Subsidy Welfare Hypocrite)

    what about jobs?

    February 18, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. Eric in Colorado

    Wow, I guess the shooting of one of the house members was supposed to make the politicians more subtle, less hostile. Yeah, right, the republicans hate Americans. They want to give money to people who give them money like wall street and corporations. But the average American doesn't have a chance. Boehner cries when they talk about his corporation, but when it comes to providing Americans with health care. The tears dry up.

    February 18, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. NCLaw441

    IWISH– These folks were voted into office by the people. This is what they were elected to do. They won. They get to make the rules. End of story

    February 18, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. Marco Budgyk

    The GOP: Willing to cut every program that helps middle-class or lower-income Americans, but don't you dare cut one penny from the military/industrial complex!

    February 18, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  6. peace

    the tea party nut is waking up it"s about time. they was used by the koch brothers big time.

    February 18, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  7. Pretzel Logic

    So lemme get this straight. There's absolutely no money for Planned Parenthood but there's $100M for the Pentagon's NASCAR sponsorship? Do the Republicans think that anyone is going to believe a word they say soon?

    February 18, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. DAVE

    in wisconsin i would be willing to bet that the new govenor has a budget just like our new GOP govenor in michigan has . our govenor wants to tax pensions give big tax cuts to business at the same time he wants to do big cuts in education. these guys just can't deal with the fact that "supply side economics" has failed this country. the" trickle down economics" they live by has the effect of making middle class people all warm and fuzzy for a moment but turns very fast to just making them cold, wet and smell bad! workers just like people in the middle east are tired of living on less at the same time that the top 1% can't even spend the amount of money they are getting. i think wisconsin has a real possibility of becoming a national strike of working people who's incomes have been froozen for almost 25 years.

    February 18, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  9. Drake Coford

    Republicans thinking?
    What's this world coming to?

    February 18, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  10. buffoon

    At last, 92 GOP understand what Obama was talking about! The rest of the GOP remain as backseat drivers!

    February 18, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. buffoon

    At last, 92 GOP understand what Obama was talking about!

    February 18, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  12. Anni

    Where were these fiscal consveratives when Bush was running up the deficit?

    February 18, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  13. Jessica

    "You know, I hear the word 'meat axe' and 'draconian,'" Southerland said. "What's 'draconian' and 'meat axe' is leaving every American in this country with $43,000 of national debt."

    And yet you support extending the tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans which would also increase the debt load for those in this country as there is less revenue coming in. You cannot have it both ways, so, shut up, already.

    February 18, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  14. Darryl Schmitz

    These Republicans are content to accept slow death by negative amortization. It seems the "leadership" of both major parties are too cowardly to do what is necessary to fix the problem, but are instead willing to let us slowly disintegrate – hoping the final collapse happens on the "other guy's watch". We should all be "mad as hell" and not willing to let this gaggle of limp-willed weasels pass the buck anymore. There is no more road to "kick the can down"... only a cliff.

    February 18, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  15. Ken in NC

    I hope Republicans get to do everything they have been ordered to do by the Koch brothers over the next two years. I hope they continue to screw up this nation like they have started doing. It's almost like they are taking up where they left off when they lost power in 2006. If they screw us good enough this time maybe they will not get to drive again for many years. If Democrats don't grow a set and start using them then Republicans will have everybody in this country individually owned by some big business or business owner and we will simply be traded around like old baseball cards except for the young bucks that might command a monetary fee. The only free people left in this country will be the big business owners.

    February 18, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. xyz10

    A lot of these republicans care more about money than they do about American citizens. People are more important than dollars, you fools!

    February 18, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. Rower Number 41

    It's great to see that all of GOP house members are not lemmings. But what I really want to know is when did the budget deficit become the most dangerous economic problem we have? Is any of this gridlock and entrenchment over the budget really about creating jobs? Last I looked, the jobs situation is not getting better... What I really want to see is Dems and Repubs working together to get past this debate so we can get back to growing our economy.

    February 18, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  18. jaz

    It's interesting how the Speaker of the House says that "tough decisions" have to be made when middle class Americans such as the Federal employees mentioned in the article will lose their jobs. Yet why was their no talk of "tough decisions" from the Speaker when the Bush-era tax cuts for his rich buddies were set to expire? Keeping money in their pockets was an easy vote, yet keeping working Americans working, well, shucks, that's where the tough call has to be made...

    American voters may not be geniuses, Mr. Speaker, but the evidence that you are NOT on the side of working class Americans becomes more and more obvious every day.

    February 18, 2011 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  19. bryant

    Southerland, You moronic idiot – $43,000 dollars for every American doesn't come from Medicade and Planned Parenthood – it comes from two simultaneous wars that are unfunded, oil companies that don't pay a penny in tax despite tens of billions in profit and tax cuts for the wealthiest 3% of our populace who were instrumental in wrecking our economy.

    February 18, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  20. Dan

    This entire exercise is an asinine political sideshow. Rather than proposing slight benefit reductions and slight tax increases to social security, and slight modifications to the Medicare program that could ax trillions of dollars off of projected debt, and modifications to tax expenditures and reductions, these numskulls are arguing over the .2% of the budget that goes to ensure that Americans have safe drinking water, breathable air, and rivers that don't catch on fire and the other .01% of the budget that funds the arts and humanities. Defense, which takes up over 50% of discretionary spending, remains barely touched, and non-discretionary spending, which makes up some 80% of total expenditures, also – of course, untouched. Those jokers should all lose their jobs.

    February 18, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  21. whoa!

    Jack: The civil war never really ended, unfortunately. Its still alive and well in the South and its Confederate adherents are the heart and soul of both the Republican and Tea Party. The war however, is coming to a climax now as a black president was elected and they will not go down without an all out political fight. But like all fascists, they are doomed to lose in the end, for the world is ever ascending to higher levels of consciousness, levels that these "lower vibrators", by God's spiritual design, cannot ascend to.

    February 18, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  22. Ron

    If I remember correctly, didn't the GOP come out saying that if they won, they'd help produce more jobs?
    Still waiting...
    It appears they've gone back to the we're in control attitude and are, again, doing as they want, regardless of what they said and what they pledged to the American people. Am I surprised? Not in the least! Apparently people didn't missed it the last eight years when the GOP was "in control."

    February 18, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  23. GOP = Greed Over People

    I am sure Boehner will be bawlin' on the House floor if he does not get his way!

    February 18, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  24. john

    It must be pathetic to be a lefty lib...they love HUGE DEFICITS, cant balance a checkbook and want to mortgage the future of America. They cater to unions who have bankrupted manufacturing jobs, airlines, schools...and worst of all, want the hard working tax payers to fund their bloated salarties, pensions and pay for their healthcare...all of you lefty loons who love unions so much and love the govt to take care of you in EVERY WAY need to move to Europe...and then ask them how thats working out for them. REPUB's need to slash slash slash!!!!

    February 18, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. Republican Jim

    The cuts proposed by my fellow republicans look more vindictive than constructive. We could achieve almost all our goals by focusing on the Defense (really Offense) Budget, which is the "Elephant in the Room". We should continue to fund social programs like PBS, pell grants, and heat subsides (as much as I dislike them). The US has led the world on "greenhouse emissions" we need to lead the world in fixing our problem – fund EPA correctly! Let's look to eliminate the tax cuts for the wealthy – it's the sole reason we won't see a Republican in the White house in 2012. Let's get back to being a responsible party to the people.

    February 18, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
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