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. gwats

    There's no compromise, no negotiating with these tea party losers. The President needs to invoke the 14th Amendment, raise the debt ceiling, and dare these bastards to take him to Court or try to impeach him for doing his job. I've got his back, and I'm not alone. We SPENT THIS CASH ALREADY, and it's time to pay it back. Obama can win this one, if he's got the nerve.

    July 25, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  2. Rousseau L

    Republican is the party of NO/ the rich which is only the top 2% of this country.

    July 25, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  3. Oldie in TampaBay

    I thought Boehner might be good when he was elected ... boy was I WRONG! Out with him! B4 its too late.

    July 25, 2011 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  4. Proud American

    America held hostage but a bunch of wack Republicans, even an idiot can tell this is about next years election.

    July 25, 2011 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  5. david in florida

    Best thing that could happen is a default.
    That would make Republicans reown the recession.

    July 26, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  6. korkeaaika@yahoo.com

    Boehner put a good face on an indefensible position: While the middle class sinks deeper and deeper, Boehner's party will not allow him to raise one dollar ($1) from the hyper-rich and corporations to help us. He must feel really helpless.

    July 26, 2011 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  7. ajois

    Good. Now that Republicans are hell bent on spending cuts in a time of recession, jobless recovery. With tax cuts supposed to be creating jobs now, where are they, hiding in a cave? Let's do this. Take a big chopping knife, with one stroke, cut all the programs in republican states in one stroke that should save heck of a lot of money. All the republican house members will then hear directly from their constituents. One can also surgically aim congressional districts that elected Republican hardliners and Tea Baggers for the immediate – let's do it next week itself, why not – they wants cuts right..... Though one wouldn't want to do such a thing, Republican are behaving cheap, want to deliberately jam president and make him look bad and they are dissing him.

    July 26, 2011 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  8. guy

    so lemme guess these 38 congressman are all also personally wealthy and would not bear the brunt of default for the immediate future

    July 26, 2011 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  9. Marn7271

    House Speaker John Boehner is a serious danger to America and it's citizens. Ohio voters need to recall him, if they can, or vote him out of office next election.

    July 26, 2011 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  10. JP0

    The Republicans are making a concerted effort to turn the country into a two class society, the very rich and the very poor. They may yet succeed. Any middle class American who votes Republican is shooting himself in the foot.

    July 26, 2011 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  11. Lewis Jamison

    I say recall the Republicans, they got us into the wars that are draining our economy, plus they have no sense of reality. We should add taxes to their income statements. It must be nice to get the best of everything and deny the retirees what they have worked for and paid for. Shame on them......

    July 26, 2011 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  12. Dona

    John worn a solid blue suit with a solid blue shirt with a green tie

    July 26, 2011 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  13. 1rooster

    John Boehner just proved that he's an imbecile.

    July 26, 2011 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  14. J.V.hodgson

    After the Speeches of Obama and Boehner and the analysis during Piers Morgan plus AC360 I managed to get a segment on the BBC TV world service called Newsday where a guy from the US center for responsible politics was asked to comment on both Obamas speech and Boehners.
    His message was clear a) House bill wont pass senate. b) Senate bill wont pass House c) That means S&P and ratings agencies still downgrade US debt as long term savings under any plan are curently inadequate to stop the downgrade; with the consequences on Interest rates rises, dollar decline, and Mr.average credit card and other costs rising., like Gasoline! Not mention lower consumer demand as a result. Which, the center guy said quite correctly was the key cause of recession and major curent issue. Not the debt level per se = economics 101!!
    I am sorry but listening to all the ( Ha Ha ) balanced comments, Republicans here have not only lost the battle they have lost the war meaning what to do re debt and 2012 presidential elections respectively; and possibly the House as well in 2012. Why? I smell re-calls galore where laws allow ptretty soon.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    July 26, 2011 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  15. Lewis Jamison

    I hope the people who voted for the Tea Party get what they deserve......

    July 26, 2011 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  16. mike mcclammer

    I believe we have to have a balanced approach. So let's get it done.

    July 26, 2011 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  17. Scott

    House Republicans should start listening to Boehner, to Americans, and to Wall Street. They need to learn to work with the Senate and pass legislation on a timely basis if they want to stay in office. I don't approve of them procrastinating and risking a default. It is not America that is a bunch of deadbeats, it is Congress that is a bunch of deadbeats if a default occurs.

    July 26, 2011 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  18. Ravenna

    "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."

    What about their oath of office that pledged they would adhere to the wishes of their constituents, not just the people who voted them into office?

    July 26, 2011 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  19. TamarS

    Boehner is no leader. He thinks if he says certainthings he will be seen as supporting the people. It's not true. He accuses Obama of thinking about the next election when inreality he and the idiots who signed "no tax increase" statements are working in the past. they don't understand anything in today's economy for the rest of us (but clearly care about themselves). they don't care about jobs or they would have resolved the arlines issue well before yesterday. Did they reaf Tom Friedman's article in the Sunday New York Times. There is, at last, an alternative "ElectAmerica" on the internet. We need change,,, and we need it now. Obama is a smart, caring man but he keeps trying to engage the republicans who are soooooo stuck in 19080!

    July 26, 2011 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  20. mabel floyd

    the repubs think they have the country by the tail-but they forget the country votes in 2012-and if good wins over evil then the dems will be firmly in charge and america becomes american once again.

    July 26, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  21. M.K.

    At least Boehner did not squall like the crybaby he is, during the speech he made. As far as the blank check for President Obama is concerned, he doesn't have any left, he gave them all to Georgie boy Bush during the eight years he was selling this country down the river to the Communist Chinese.

    July 26, 2011 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  22. SDN

    Republicans will not demand that the wealthy pay the same net percentage of income tax as everyone else. That's simple enough – you're fired.

    July 26, 2011 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  23. Gary

    I didn't vote for Rush Limbaugh.

    July 26, 2011 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  24. M.K.

    Boehner is one dumb cluck to be in the third position to be President, Can you imagine him up against the head China man in a situation that could escalate into nuclear war? Boehner would break down and cry a river, and the Chinaman would laugh as he pushed the buttons.

    July 26, 2011 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  25. GOP has a tea problem, not a party?

    Oh, just pass a clean debt ceiling bill and move on. I wish the Republicans was this passionate about creating jobs. What a waste in congress.

    July 26, 2011 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
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