Conservative groups making final push to defeat Boehner plan
July 28th, 2011
10:48 AM ET
7 years ago

Conservative groups making final push to defeat Boehner plan

Washington (CNN) - A leading grassroots conservative organization and an influential fiscal conservative group say they're making final pushes Thursday to try and defeat House Speaker John Boehner's plan to reduce the nation's debt.

FreedomWorks says it's reaching out to its conservative allies in the House, including lawmakers and their staff, in the hours before the chamber is expected to hold a pivotal vote on the Republican Speaker's proposal.

"We've been spending time sending last minute emails, making phone calls and alerting our members and tea party leaders in some of these districts about our opposition to this plan. This morning we plan to stop by as many House offices as possible to deliver our message in person to staff as the debate is occurring on the House floor," Brendan Steinhauser tells CNN.

"Our goal is to peel off enough Republican votes in the House to stop this bad debt plan, which doesn't meet the criteria of cut, cap and balance, and won't fix our overall debt problem."

Steinhauser, who is not related to this reporter, is director of federal and state campaigns for FreedomWorks, a nonprofit conservative organization based in the nation's capital that helps train volunteer activists and has provided much of the organization behind the tea party movement. The group also supports conservative candidates in Republican primary and general election contests.

Boehner is trying to stomp dissent within his party. Two GOP sources said Wednesday that the Speaker called on fellow Republicans to "get your ass in line."

The House vote will be a major test for whether the GOP caucus can push through the Boehner measure in the face of an expected unified Democratic opposition. Republicans hold 240 of the 433 House seats (two seats are currently vacant), and if everyone votes, 217 votes would be need to pass the Speaker's plan.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says revisions to Boehner's plan would bring a total of $917 billion in savings over 10 years, an increase of about $65 billion over the initial version. With the revisions, Boehner's proposal - which calls for an immediate $900 billion increase in the debt ceiling - now meets his pledge to match any debt ceiling hike with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts.

Senate Democrats said in a letter Wednesday that the Republican plan has no chance of passing the Senate. For their part, top Republicans called the Senate Democratic plan a nonstarter.

Steinhauser tells CNN that "some of the folks we are trying turn into NO votes" include: Representatives Allen West of Florida, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Bill Johnson of Ohio, Blake Farenthold of Texas, Doug Lamborn of Colorado, Mike Pence of Indiana, Austin Scott of Georgia, Bill Flores of Texas, Jack Kingston of Georgia, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Joe Barton of Texas, and Kevin Brady of Texas.

He listed 18 House Republicans as firmly committed to voting against the Speaker's plan. They are: Representatives Todd Akin of Missouri, Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Paul Broun of Georgia, Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee, Phil Gingrey of Georgia, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Tom Graves of Georgia, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Connie Mack of Florida, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina; Ron Paul of Texas, Dennis Ross of Florida, Steve Southerland of Florida and Joe Walsh of Illinois.

FreedomWorks isn't the only conservative powerplayer in the nation's capitol that's working to defeat the Boehner plan. The fiscal-conservative Club for Growth is also urging House Republicans to vote against the re-worked proposal by the Speaker.

"The increase in the debt limit is immediate and real, but most of the spending cuts are only promised and stretched out over ten years. History has shown that future spending cuts rarely materialize. Nothing binds a future Congress from erasing them," says an email Thursday morning from the group which was sent to congressional offices.

If Congress fails to raise the current $14.3 trillion debt limit by August 2, the federal government could come up short in paying its bills, and Americans could face rising interest rates and a declining dollar, among other problems.

- CNN's Alan Silverleib and Tom Cohen contributed to this story.

Filed under: Debt • Deficit • FreedomWorks • John Boehner
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Indy

    Of course Bachmann will vote no because she has never voted yes for anything except for signing pledges that go against the peoples will.

    July 28, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. jamesnyc

    "Grassroots" my backside. It isn't really a grassroots effort if it is bankrolled by billionaires...

    July 28, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. George

    Good. Someone has to step up and tell Boehner that only 15 certifiable lemmings showed up at the teapacker "rally"
    yesterday and that he has nothing to fear in not carrying out their idiotic agenda in bringing down the country.
    Did you get a load of the woman who stated on national television that the EPA doesn't do anything? I would love to see
    her physical condition in a few years of drinking tainted water, eating tainted food, etc.? These people obviously don't
    have the thinking capacity to hold any position of power.

    July 28, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  4. Billy

    What a circus. Since the GOP cant lead, they should get out of the way.

    July 28, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    House Speaker Boehner's plan was off of his estimate by 30%, according to CBO. CBO said the Sen. Majority Reid's plan was off by 22%. Reid's estimate was more accurate than Boehner despite being off by a larger dollar figure.

    As the Republican Party turns itself inside out, let's hope and pray that they don't take the entire country down with them.

    July 28, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. Malty

    I don't care whose plan it is - we need to cut spending and balance the budget. Democrats controlled the budget from 2006 – 2010–the worst of the spending. It's time to put responsible people back in the Congress AND White House.

    Why are democrats so against cuts to spending and a balanced budget?

    July 28, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. Taxed Enough Already

    Republicans should show some courage and vote against the Boehner bill. It won't do what Boehner claims it will do. It is selling the Tea Party down the river.

    July 28, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. Joey

    Someone has to stand up for the truth.
    And the truth is three disgruntled, out of shape and out of touch white ladies holding signs should not have so much pulll
    in bringing America down, because they happen to not like the President.

    July 28, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Mary Ann

    I hope they succeed. Evil is permitted when good people stand by and do nothing.

    July 28, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. kenneth zehnder

    And we as a people actually elected these idiots... what we need is a caning in Congress... may 22 1859 Sumner was beat by Blake with a cane. He really didn't deserve this atrocious act of violence. But these selfish jerks we elected that vote for their pockets and political favors, they need to be caned. We need a government that will work for us instead of themselves. Our country is in a economic crisis and we need decision not conflict and political fighting.

    July 28, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. California Conservative

    Doing the same thing over and over (raising debt ceiling without changing spending habits) and expecting different results, know.

    July 28, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Cat

    The last tea party didn't get their way, threw a fit and went and made their own new country up. Can this tea party please do the same thing...leave? Please.

    July 28, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  13. Emmy Skaddittle

    This is so sad, these people are driving us off the cliff and for what? we really need to raise the debt ceiling and they we can work on cuts. we have run out of time for both

    July 28, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. icecold

    Wow, if Republicans can't agree with themselves how can anyone expect them to work with the dems or president Obama. The Republicans are now blocking their own party ideas. This is sad.

    July 28, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    Pushing Dick Armey's FreedomsWorks as a *grassroots* organization is almost as comical as trying to push Karl Rove's GPS Crossroads organization as an *Independent Voter* entity. There is nothing grassroots about either PAC organization. Both are funded by the same astroturfers that brought us the *down-home, main-street America* libertarian, anti-American, down with all government, TeaPers.

    July 28, 2011 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    The Tea Party is demonstrating their lack of knowledge and experience with how to solve the problems with the economy and the overspending. They are just as irresponsible as Obama has been, because they don't recognize that a "balanced budget" is a bad idea, if it is LAW! It is fine in theory, but greater flexibility is required in times of crisis.

    The problem is, having the same political party in charge of Congress and the WH, is always bad for the country, especially if it both Dems, because the Dems are fiscally irresponsible.

    That does NOT make the Tea Party right. Quite the contrary. They simply have become polarized the other way, only accepting one solution, when many solutions are possible. They are their own fools.

    July 28, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Navyvet8192

    Anyone with more than an 8th grade education, and many with less than that knows you can't balance the budget without BOTH responsible deep fiscal cuts and increased revenues. Both sides have good arguements for their constituents, but anyone with any business accumen knows that to get yourself out of a hole you got to have more revenues than you have payments. On the Republican side, yes there are just too many taxes out there for most Americans. On the Democrats side, there are entirely too many loopholes in the tax laws that allow businesses and multi millionaires to not pay what they should be paying. Think about it, GE paid NO taxes and earned BILLIONS in profits. Not Revenues but profits!!! There is something fundamentally wrong with that! This is not a hard problem to fix, and make the country more solvent than it has been in a decade!

    July 28, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Jeffery Powell

    Why o why wont the GOPers see that we are going to NEED both spending cut & tax increases to ease our current crisis!

    July 28, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    If Congress fails to raise the current $14.3 trillion debt limit by August 2, the federal government could come up short in paying its bills, and Americans could face rising interest rates and a declining dollar, among other problems.
    But we face this already!! If we keep spending and borrowing these insane amounts, we'll be downgraded for sure. Ultimately we'll be defaulting as well. There is no more road to kick this can down!! The Democrats HAVE BANKRUPTED THIS COUNTRY with their social welfare mentality. Watching them fight tooth and nail against even the smallest cuts to spending tells me they are hell bent on destroying this country through bankruptcy. They seem to want rioting in the streets like you see in Greece.

    July 28, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. Bill

    The Democrats are hypocrits. Obama is clearly to blame for the debt crisis. Remember Obamacare? It was railroaded through Congress with no bipartisan support and without the support of ordinary Americans. It is directly responsible for the creation of the Tea Party, the November election results and now for the Tea Party's refusal to "compromise". Why should the Tea Party compromise? Did the Democrats compromise on Obamacare? Will the Democrats really stop their spending spree? I seriously doubt it. The Tea Party does need to buy time to get to the 2012 elections and elect a Congress and a President that works for the people – not themselves. God help America; it is clear that the Democrats are out to destroy it.

    July 28, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. Mikey

    Other than some of the unaffiliated Tea Party groups, are there any conservative groups that are not bankrolled by extremely wealthy and powerful individuals? – Crossroads, Freedomworks, Tea Party Express, whatever org the Koch brothers control, etc.

    I have to say, it is so sad to see the GOP eating its own. I just hope they don't take the rest of us down with them.

    July 28, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. FM

    I smell not from a long distance the danger of this plan to be defeated. By doing the simple maths: 240 in total, in order to pass 217 votes are a must. 18 firmly committed to vote against. What is needed to defeat it is only 6 votes, in which I do assume they will get more!

    July 28, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. Mary

    There's a saying that one has to pay a price for stupidity. Well... dear US voters, you voted for right wing extremists, and now it's time to pay the price. Good luck to y'all (and unfortunately to the rest of the world). If sympathy for US dropped under Bush... expect less favourable views from the rest of the nations now with your T. party. Read foreign press more. You'll see that US has become some sort of a laughing stock and the butt of many jokes.

    July 28, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. Ryan

    just wow....the tea party is nothing but spoiled children. They either want all the toys in the chest, or none of them at all....and they're willing to sacrifice the financial stability of this country just to get back at the "socialist kenyan." Debt reduction is important, but the american people have made it loud and clear they don't want a hard-left or hard-right proposal

    July 28, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. vic , nashville ,tn

    Good let the bill fail any way not good bill for us

    July 28, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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