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. Jonathen

    Boehner, seriously bro, you have go to use your knoggin a little bit more. Obama is going to veto anything that comes across the table that doesn't have tax hikes on the wealthy (and rightfully so). So don't waste your breath, and dont come to the table with "cut,crap, and balance. That will never in a million years pass.

    July 26, 2011 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  2. h pine

    I'm amazed that the Republican party is willing to let the tea party destroy this country's economic future. If they don't get their act together the repercussions from the upcoming default debacle will take years to recover from. And these people call themselves patriots? Who do they think their constituency is? It is in the best interest of none of us to allow the USA to default on its debt before the eyes of the world. Congress owes it to the American people to get this done, and get it done sooner, not later.

    July 26, 2011 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  3. shoegazer

    Isn't about time America looked after it's own house rather than being the imperialist,colonialist beast that it has become over the last half century...or more.How come when all this talk of financial hardship comes up,neither side of the aisle wants to tackle the defense budget? For those of you not aware,the defense budget for ONE YEAR is equivalent to roughly
    $20,000.an hour,seven days a week,365 days a year since Jesus Christ was born.ONE YEAR....time to quit being the global bully and looking after your own citizens.Can anybody here say.....Roman Empire?

    July 26, 2011 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  4. GeneK

    Why is Boehner even presenting a plan if he hasn't got his own party lined up behind it?

    July 26, 2011 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  5. kim

    This article mentions 'Republican principles'. What exactly are Republican principles? To make and keep as much money as possible even if it means the destruction of the country and their fellow Americans to do so, and to make money their God?! Republicans are NOT concerned about the country or Americans. They only see money, this is their be-all and end-all, their only reason for existence, to be greedy and hoard money. Sick!

    I remember old Republican values of individualism and less government involvement but now, it is all just corporate greed with them.

    I believe in Democratic principles: to be fair and just to all groups, and money shouldn't have anything to do with that.

    July 26, 2011 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  6. MarcusMACV

    Wow! First of all it was Rumsfeld and company that "broke-our-military" and fought a war OFF-THE-BOOKS! Once the costs of the two wars were included our deficit skyrocketed. In addition it was G.W. Bush that did the following:
    2001 George W bails out the airlines 19 Billion
    2008 George W bails out Bear Stearns 30 Billion
    2008 George W bails out FannieMae FreddieMac 400 Billion
    2008 George W bails out AIG 180 Billion
    2008 George W bails out GM, Ford, Chrysler 25 Billion
    2008 George W presides over TARP 700 Billion
    2008 George W bails out Citigroup 280 Billion
    Further Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl all voted to increase the debt limit a combined 19 times during the Presidency of George W. Bush, and the GOP wanted John McCain and Sarah Palin to run the country.

    Considering the above and the fact that THIS ADMINISTRATION GOT OSAMA BIN LADEN, every American that can read ought to get down on their knees and thank God for President Obama.
    All others may join the Tea Party, you deserve each other.

    July 26, 2011 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  7. Clappy

    This is a disgrace. Shame on America.

    July 26, 2011 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  8. A.B. Smith

    Someone should tell Republicans that "Cut, Cap and Balance won't work until we decide to return to the Articles of Confederation.

    July 26, 2011 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  9. Rick

    To hell with Republican principles, To hell with Democratic principles. How about some GOD DAMN common sense for one day and think of the Country instead of worrying about hurting each others party in the next election.

    July 26, 2011 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  10. Peter Q Wolfe

    Shame on John Boehner instead of reforming entitlement programs just doing the easy things not the tough things that need to be done. I honestly am ashamed in my country right now with this hyped up message over everything as its inportant and not for childs play. I think both elements of a committee on lowering health care costs, social welfare conditions, means tested, half the military, raise the retirement age, destroy federal retirement, and most inportantly destroy all elected officials benefits and half their budgets.

    July 26, 2011 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  11. Aslam Halim

    GOP tea party is bunch of idiots who have ruined the rest of GOP's election platform for 2012. What they should have done was to take up Obama's challenge in deficit reduction and agree to the tax increase and put the clause in that says that all these increase in taxes will go towards the deficit reduction until the economy is back on its feet. By this time the government would get extra revenues to reduce the taxes to where it is or lower it.

    July 26, 2011 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  12. James Baker

    Congressmen who sign "pledges" are shockingly immature and unworthy of the offices that they hold. To willingly tie their own hands to the strings of a non-elected lobbyist puppeteer is insanity and is clear evidence of allegiance to something other than the best interests of the country. In the immortal words of the great dalai Silverman, philosopher emeritus from Baguio, they are unruly children spitting at the sun.

    July 26, 2011 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  13. Duane Kimball

    So what happens if the House and Senate cannot meet their statutory mandate to provide the President with the approval to raise the debt ceiling? Chaos. Right-wing folks want to blame Obama, but he will have nothing to sign. How will that be his fault? It will all land at the feet of Mad Hatter Boehner and his Tea Party. We will correct this in the 2012 election, but it will then be too late to salvage the U.S. credit rating. The increase in interest rates (both personal and public) and the taxes to pay for them will be devastating ... far worse than any tax hike that the right-wing radicals can imagine. All brought on by them.

    July 26, 2011 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  14. Donkey Party

    When the world and domestic economies tumble, thank the GOP at the polls next year.

    July 26, 2011 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  15. Darth Vadik, CA

    Republicans are used to weak spineless Democrats that cave in, but you throw someone like Obama who will bloody your nose, the whole facade of Republicans as "strong" starts to crumble faster than a house of cards in a hurricane...

    Just because you don't see Obamas punches coming does not mean they are not coming, just ask bin Laden ;)

    July 26, 2011 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  16. Bill

    Two party politicians that screwed up this country, are asking us now to take sides. Politicians are set for life with all the goodies that we the tax payers are burdened with. We the people will suffer, two wars and trillions spend, middle class jobs lost to China. Now these clowns act so serious and claim they are looking after our interest, I have some choice words to say to them, but they can not be printed.

    July 26, 2011 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  17. A Real Patriot

    He can't even control his own caucus. The inmates have taken over the Republican asylum.

    July 26, 2011 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  18. Tony

    Boehner said that Obama created the crisis atmosphere. If the impending default is not a crisis, why shouldn't the White House just ignore the Republican demand to cut spending? It is their way or what?

    July 26, 2011 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  19. Whoosh

    "around and around and around we go, where we gonna stop nobody knows" Ball of Confusion That's what America is today!
    Give Thanks to the House of representatives for this wide stand.

    July 26, 2011 05:49 am at 5:49 am |
  20. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Boner and the wingnuts have their Wall Street master's feet knee deep up their behinds now so the debt ceilig will be raised.To hell with the teabaggers.

    July 26, 2011 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  21. Anthony

    It is clear now that the Republican strategy is to force Democrats to cave on spending based on the threat of something (a government default) that they think is not a big deal anyway. They don't have a backup plan. Well, if it is not a big deal that the government make payments on its debt or obligations, which is what a default is, then why do they think that the national debt is a crisis?

    July 26, 2011 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  22. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    There is nothing at all "conservative" about (a) caring for the greedy and not the needy, and (b) continuously pursuing proven policy failures like corporate welfare and tax cuts for the wealthy.

    July 26, 2011 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  23. 4merRepubCT

    The concept of "requiring" passage of a balanced budget amendment in Congress is absurd. What makes the Repubs that want this think they have the authority to require others to support it? This is taking political terrorism to a new level.

    July 26, 2011 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  24. bob mcmillan

    if we just cut foreign aid that would take care of the 25 billion!!!

    July 26, 2011 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  25. Marie MD

    Ghe MN flake should divorce big boy marcus anc marry this flake! How utterly appropriate of a name for her!
    Sorry republikans but boner is the worst house leadef ever. Pelosi had more balls than he does and she works for the people not the teabaggers. I am proud as a woman that she doesn't cry about every little thing eithef!!!

    July 26, 2011 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
1 2 3 4 5