House conservatives not sold on Boehner plan
July 25th, 2011
10:36 PM ET
3 years ago

House conservatives not sold on Boehner plan

Washington (CNN) - Now that House Speaker John Boehner has unveiled his proposal to cut about $3 trillion in spending and raise the debt limit, his task is to round up the votes to pass it in the House later this week, but conservative skepticism of the plan could make that a heavy lift.

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who heads up a large group of fiscal conservatives in the House, came out against the plan Monday.

"While I thank the Speaker for fighting for Republican principles, I cannot support the plan that was presented to House Republicans this afternoon," Jordan said in a written statement.

In addition to Jordan, 38 other House Republicans have signed a pledge that they would not vote to raise the debt ceiling if it didn't adhere to the principles in the "Cut, Cap, and Balance" bill that passed the House last week. Boehner admitted his plan is "built on the principles" of that plan, but doesn't go as far as that bill would.

Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said he's still undecided on Boehner's plan, but said, "some of the details are troublesome."

Asked what he thinks of the idea of a joint committee created to come up with $1.6-1.8 trillion in deficit reduction later this year, Flake put his hand in his mouth, as though he was going to gag. "How many commissions have we had? Come on. That's not a solution," he said.

Another conservative, New Jersey Republican Scott Garrett said he's waiting to read the bill, but emphasized he wants to see more cuts sooner.

House Republicans have been pushing for significant and immediate cuts, but the way the Boehner proposal is structured, while it would cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years, the cuts in the first year would amount to a $24 billion reduction in non-defense discretionary spending.

The initial figure for the first year's cuts "may be problematic, so we'd like to see whether that can be plussed up," Garrett said.

But it appears the major problem House conservatives have with Boehner's plan is that a central part of their "Cut, Cap, and Balance" plan - a requirement that Congress pass a balanced budget amendment before raising the debt ceiling - is not in the bill. Boehner's plan requires that both the House and Senate vote on an amendment before the end of the year, but doesn't mandate that it must pass.

Several of these conservatives said they would continue to insist the plan require passage of a balanced budget amendment. Flake predicted if it were included in the House GOP bill, it could gain support from conservatives, who view that amendment as the key enforcement mechanism for ensuring significant spending cuts actually happen in the future.

Complicating Boehner's task is his margin for error could be low if the solid wall of Democratic opposition holds up. The bill needs 217 votes to pass, so House Republican leaders can only afford to lose roughly 23 Republicans.

Number two House Democrat Steny Hoyer told reporters he's already working to solidify Democratic opposition to the bill. And several Democratic congressional aides said House Democratic leaders are aggressively pushing their members to stand united on Wednesday against House GOP plan, arguing it puts more pressure on Boehner to pass it with largely, if not all, Republican votes.

Boehner, in his rebuttal to the president, predicted the House would pass the measure this week.

House Democratic caucus Chairman John Larson told reporters all the members who attended Monday night's Democratic caucus meeting oppose the plan.

"A supermajority of the caucus is opposed," Larson said. There were five Democratic defections on the GOP's "Cut, Cap, and Balance" plan, and while Larson couldn't guarantee those fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats would oppose the new House GOP bill, said he believes once they review the details, it would be hard for them to support it.

One encouraging sign for Boehner - one of the most vocal House conservative voices, freshman Republican Allen West of Florida, told reporters he's supportive. He sent a message out via Twitter on Monday evening, saying "I will support the new debt deal- it has enough of what I need including no tax hikes, spending caps and a step toward a balanced budget."

Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole complimented Boehner's handling of the debt negotiations, noting this was his 10th vote on the debt ceiling and the first time the debate focused on spending cuts. On the vote on the new GOP plan Cole argued, "It's a test for the Republican conference, not for the Speaker, if we don't [pass the bill] shame on us, not shame on John Boehner."


Filed under: Debt • Deficit • House Republicans • John Boehner
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. bb

    The Republican house do not report to John Boehner any longer. Their new boss is Grover Norquist. If that is not abundantly clear by now – it will never be.

    July 25, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  2. Thom Real American patriot

    Jackals would be the operative word for Cantor, Boehner, McConnell, the tea party, and republicans. Why aren't they explaining that this "tax Hike" is really getting huge corporations and others who get huge tax breaks because of their wealth pay their fair share of taxes so that the burden won't be totally on the middle class.
    In layman's terms, Cantor, McConnell, and Boehnerr wants to take away grandma's medicare and the social security
    benefits that Americans have paid into all of their WORKING lives just so that big businesses won't have to pay their fair share of taxes.

    The republicans know they don't have a chance at beating Barack Obama in 2011(he's broken his own record at fundraising already) thus they figure they can destroy this country in the meantime, and blame the President. They don't
    care about Americans. Woe on America if they are allowed to carry out thiis evil. Evil indeed, they are. The scary thing
    is that they are able to convince a large portion of Americans that taking away their rights will be good for them. Wake up!

    July 25, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  3. Tony Giovanni

    I am so tired of Boehner and these Republicans! Fighting for tax loopholes for the rich while I am struggling to pay my mortgage. Give me a break. I am not voting Republican again. This is a slap in the face.

    July 25, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  4. Elizabeth McClain

    What exctly is the Plan again, Boehner

    July 25, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  5. DN

    Boehner and Cantor voted every time to raise to raise the debt ceiling when President Bush was in office, only to vote against it every time now that it's a Democrat in the White House. For this reason alone, both men have ZERO credibility. Every moral reason they claim for their actions are completely without merit, for if they truly believed their words, those 'yeahs' would've been 'nays' those 7 times under Bush.

    July 25, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Suck it up, GOP and go with Boehner. he is at least trying, and you are NOT!

    July 25, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  7. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Anyone paying attention should be able to see by now that the republicans are once again putting politics above the American people and the well being of the country. They never intended to come to an agreement.

    July 25, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  8. al in memphis

    They just don't get it. Do the Chinese have to get on a plane and tell these clowns, we are not lending you anymore money until you can convince us you actually have a working government. Not a bunch of clowns trying to decide who can play chicken the best.

    July 25, 2011 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  9. Baffled!

    Boehner has NO plan that will pass especially after the S&P reports a "HIGH" probablity they will down grade us if his plan is approved and he has NO control over his party which has been highjacked by the Teatards and is now starting to split from within! Yes the self destruct button has been pushed!!

    July 25, 2011 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  10. LouAz

    If these Tea Potty Repubs House members think the USA can operate like a household budget, they do not belong in Congress. They do not understand banking or the US Treasury. That they don't know is preposterous. Leadership is action, not a position.

    July 25, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  11. terrance

    Republicans really want to able to eat people in their basements

    July 25, 2011 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  12. Carol

    It seems obvious that the GOP could care less about the welfare of seniors or anyone currently dependent of Social Security and Medicare because they are willing to keep subjecting them to the consant worry they will not recieve their checks. This is the third time this year that they have been subjected to the wory of whether or not they will get a check.
    As far as I am concern this shows that the GOP would rather protect big business and the upper 1 percent of the country.

    July 25, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  13. cosmictwang

    "House Republicans have signed a pledge that they would not vote to raise the debt ceiling if it didn't adhere to the principles "

    What's with this signing pledges thing? Why is it a good idea to paint yourself into a corner out of which there's no compromise?

    July 25, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  14. joanne

    I just want Boehner to pass the debt ceiling. Please put the country first, I am an independent voter who is very upset about what is going on, or should I say not going on in Washington. The Wealthy should pay more taxes and we should cut the military budget for starters, after that leave my grandma alone.

    July 25, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  15. LLOYD ROBERTS

    Gee Allen West, FRESHMAN congressman, thanks for possibly allowing the US to not default. Oh praise you your Royalness since you've only been in the house nine months, but are among a group of newbies holding America hostage. Thank you for gracing us with your decision to possibly be a little flexible to avert catastrophe

    July 25, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  16. Rudy Gonzales

    Mortgage rates are going to sky rocket after the TEA party led GOP takes the USA into default! The economy has slowed, banks are hoarding money, corporations are laying off personnel, companies are closing, CFO's got a four million dollar raise, Granma is choosing between buying medicine or food while the TEA party led GOP squanders time and places our government in "Default Status"! The rich get richer and the poor barely scrapes by! The USA is losing it's triple "A" rating all around the world and the cause will be known in the future as the "Boehner Bumble"! President Obama is right! The TEA party heads are going to kill Boehner's House Leadership! Decrying a "partisan three-ring circus" in the nation's capital, President Barack Obama criticized a newly minted Republican plan to avert an unprecedented government default Monday night and said congressional leaders must produce a compromise that can reach his desk before the Aug. 2 deadline. Boehner had better control his herd of TEA sippers because it will be his downfall!

    July 25, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  17. steven maul

    Heres an idea if we go into default none of you will get paid then you will see what it feels like to be unemployed person.

    July 25, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  18. Sam

    The current salary (2011) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year. Why doesn't congress act like they deserve this?

    July 25, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  19. Joseph ferrito

    It is about time that you and all the other republicans support the President in this debt problem.

    The Rich Must Pay ther fair share.

    If the Republicans insist on representing only the RICH, this will be their last terms in office

    Joseph and Carmela Ferrito
    Cresskill, N.J.

    July 25, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  20. Andrew

    Or in other words...

    "Balance the budget EXACTLY the way we want it, or we will destroy the world's economy." Nice, republicans.

    July 25, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  21. SPENDMO

    Boehners temporary debt ceiling raising plan won't pass, he doesn't have have the support even from his own party. The GOP/Tea Party has only given lip service about creating jobs, they wanted to keep the Bush extended and tax loop-holes for the job creators, and yet no jobs. They have been in office as long as Obama.

    July 25, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  22. zip

    If the debt ceiling is raised, some time is bought to solve the problem. If America defaults, it will cause a financial calamity. Which do you prefer? And make no mistake, the financial calamity will be caused by the Republican Party. And the Tea Party and Fox Fake News will bear the responsibility. And America will remember.

    July 25, 2011 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  23. E

    All I have to say is this poor guy John Boehner) has a real problem. While he has attempted and is probably willing to compromise the wolf his party jumped into the bed with woke up hungry and guess who became breakfeast. I could use another analogy but I believe this fits the situation. The GOP need to take up arms against the wolf before they are all consumed.

    July 25, 2011 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I'd like to know what the Speaker and those to the right of him are really planning on cutting. Is there any indication as to what social welfare programs they plan on cutting and who it will hurt? That is the problem; they don't understand that there are many programs out there that help people.

    July 25, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  25. roscoe

    Watching Boner, I kept waiting for him to start blubbering.....but I was disappointed. He held his tears. But, no one could listen to him and really believe what he was saying. He's more interested in his political life than in America's situation. Seems like we need to erase all of congress and start over.

    July 25, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
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