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. Joel

    It is pretty sad that the speakers own party wont support the program he proposed on the debt ceiling....looks like the GOP is about to face a mutiny

    July 25, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  2. margie dzenowski

    i am an older citizen of these united states of america. I am not up on all this techie stuff so bea with me. I am hoping this is where i can comment and it will reach Mr. Boehner. Seriously? you want cuts on Medicare and SS? i live (or atempt to live ) on $1195.00 per month. This is from Social Secutity. I make $34.00 a year too much to get help with my Medicare dediductible. Have you ever tried to do that? come sown from the Ivory Tower you live in and stop wrking for the Corporations. Listen to th polls. no one is with you. I have at least 60 people in my church and neighbor hood in the same boat as me. I am an American Voter and I do NOT like what you are doing.

    July 25, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  3. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    it is obvious that the Tea Party House GOPers are dead set on not passing a bill on the debt ceiling. The Tea Party talked a lot and got many Americans to vote them into office in 2010, but have so far shown they know little to NOTHING about governing. In fact if the same election were held today I doubt if many of them would be holding office since the Tea Party favorability rating has sunk lower than the president's and Democrats as well.

    July 25, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  4. beevee

    What is wrong with the conservate nuts of the GOP. Do they not have economic sense and just sticking to their irrational ideologies like buttheads. They are the ones that is bringing this country to the brink of disaster, not the president's vision for this country. I hope the public who elected them this time around will boot them during the next election. Idiots.

    July 25, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  5. Paul

    United the People of the USA used to stand ... now, the goble down any crap they get and so .. their major ideological adversary, the Communists, owns their debts.
    Well ... I wonder what would the soldier who died on the beaches of Normandy say about this ...

    July 25, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  6. Eugenio

    Obviously there are a bunch Grandma killers in the House who will do anything to keep their own pockets full of special interest money. They are getting paid by their puppetmasters to block any kind of a reasonable compromise that doesn't feed the selfish interests of their paymasters.

    July 25, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  7. Jake

    "Cut, Cap, and Balance?" From the same people that brought you the IRAQ WAR at ALL costs? The Republicans are ruining this country. Orange Man Boehner needs to be squeezed out—and the Republicans need to be VOTED OUT.

    July 25, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  8. Manan

    Boehner, Cantor and McConnell voted 5 times each, yes 5 'Yay', to increase the debt ceiling increase during Bush administration, so when I hear Boehner talk about fiscal conservatism now it makes me want to puke. I am ashamed that our congress is filled with hypocrites and they come in all shape and size.

    Where is the fairness if we ask to cut, cut and cut while giving rich 2% 700 Billion in tax breaks? Where is the sanity in Washington? How about we cut 3 dollars for every dollar we raise in taxes? I like a balanced approach, and so does majority of Americans.

    July 25, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  9. Eugenio

    Obviously there are a bunch House members who are willing to do anything to keep their own pockets full of special interest money. They are getting paid by their puppetmasters to block any kind of a reasonable compromise that doesn't feed the selfish interests of their paymasters.

    July 25, 2011 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  10. Jeff

    There you have it folks......the Republicans have clearly stated what we have all known for a long time "While I thank the Speaker for fighting for Republican principles...." Republicans care only about their principles and not the reality of ALL citizens. They don't care about you and me. Their willingness to cut programs that millions of Americans have paid into for decades in order to finance rich people's tax cuts are sure proof who they care about. People made a big, big mistake in 2010 and now you will feel the consequences of that mistake. I paid for the generations before me and provided financial security for my fellow senior citizens and now that it's nearing time for me to receive the same treatment, I have to keep sacrificing so rich people can be richer?????? Gimmme a break Repugs. I paid for my benefits and expect to receive them, hands off my money Repugs, they aren't entitlements....they are benefits bought and paid for with my hard earned money for more than 35 years now.

    July 25, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  11. Eugenio

    Obviously there are a bunch House members who will do anything to block any knd of a reasonable compromise that doesn't feed the selfish interests of their paymasters.

    July 25, 2011 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  12. Gail Madden

    John Boehner is the weakest House Speaker ever, he is a liar, a jerk and a crybaby. He can't even control his own tea party crazies.

    July 25, 2011 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  13. westwing

    Whatever plan offered will HAVE to include reducing spending and reducing the budget. If Obama won't do that or approve of that, then he should step down for the good of the country. He doesn't seem to have the decipline or intelligence to do the right thing.

    July 25, 2011 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  14. rene

    Hopefully, this will backfire on the GOP and cause their demise once and for all. They have been getting caught in dirty politics since Watergate and have use fear and religion to sway opinion in spite of the overwhelming proof of their corruption. Where are the churches in America denouncing their selfish actions? Where did it state in the Bible that denying the poor food, shelter, and health care was good? When are people going to wake up and realize that the GOP only care about the GOP and are using everybody else?

    July 25, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  15. Eugenio

    Obviously there are a bunch House members who will do anything to block any knd of a reasonable compromise that doesn't fit their misguided dogma supporting the high end special interests that are causing this crisis.

    July 25, 2011 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  16. Eugenio

    You are obviously part of the problem.

    July 25, 2011 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  17. MARIO Forzani

    I have a gut feeling that the Judas in the house is Eric Cantor,.. Cantor would like Boehner to fail, he's after his job,.. and Mr. Cantor is doing his utmost to sabotage anything Boehner proposes.

    July 25, 2011 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  18. Indy

    Funny Boehner has no tears about putting the country into harms way by coming up with an almost useless short term broken band aid that will have every single person on shaky ground for six months.

    July 25, 2011 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  19. paulacvdw

    Fine. The GOP wants MORE cuts? Then let's start with totally walking away from the two Bush wars. That will save a few billions, if not trillions. And for the record, I am in favor of this.

    July 25, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  20. Larry

    Will the GOP negociate on anything?

    July 25, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  21. Clint, Wa.

    Americans need to pressure their elected representatives to work out a compromise that will avoid a potentially devastating default, President Obama told the nation.

    What all of you finger pointers need to realize here is that it is not President Obama’s job to put a plan forward, he is not one of your representatives, he is the President of this great country.

    Your representatives are in the House and in the Senate, and this is where the plans come from. Then the plans are submitted to the White House for his
    consideration. It is his job to be bipartisan and look at both plans for compromise and what is best for all Americans.

    Being a Democrat or a Republican, any president or any politician should not be swayed one way or the other by their political party, but be bipartisan in the best interest of the American people and this country.

    President Obama’s own party is very upset with him and his bipartisanism as to
    being willing to compromise and negotiate with entitlement programs - such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other programs, which was in good faith on his part.

    If it were not for his stepping in and letting the senate (democratic side) know that this bipartisanism is needed to get anything done, it is again called compromise.

    Where is it on the Republican side?

    July 25, 2011 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  22. peter

    Republicans want a default. There only a some who understand the consequences of a default, Boehner is one of them, the rest really don't care and, in fact, would probably welcome it. If interest rates do go up, they benefit. If what remains of the middle class becomes poorer, the better for them. It's clear that their priority is to safeguard their money from the prying clutches of those they screw on a daily basis. Preventing a default is of no interest to them. Understand that and you'll understand their steadfast refusal to contribute with anything to solving what is a large problem to the rest of us. This is the equivalent of "Let them eat bread." If this keeps up, history shows that a revolt by the masses is in the cards for this country.

    July 25, 2011 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  23. steve d

    The 38 ultra conservatives should be thrown out of office by their ears. I am sick of electing people that don't care about what's best for America. Instead, they allow a small group of whackos (Tea Party) to dictate what they do. If the Taliban had the same influence as the Tea Party, they would be siding with them. They are a bunch of egotists that run around with their tales between their legs. Sad sad sad.

    July 25, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  24. Kman821

    Pelosi is twice the man as Boner and her leadership and intelligence in the House is sorely missed by thoughtful people .. which obviously excludes all tea-baggers and most non-tea-bagging Republicans..

    July 25, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  25. Positive

    "House conservatives not sold on Boehner plan"

    I'm not sold on any plan from the Republicans. Do what Obama suggested earlier – $3T cuts / $1T increased revenue. That will be a good start to getting the ship back in order.

    July 25, 2011 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
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