House Republicans dial back on promises
January 5th, 2011
03:28 PM ET
12 years ago

House Republicans dial back on promises

Washington (CNN) - Even before House Republicans took control of the chamber Wednesday, there were at least three areas where they appear to be backtracking on promises made: Cutting $100 billion in the first year, allowing opportunities for the minority party to offer amendments on bills, and making public attendance records for committee hearings.

The Republicans ran for office in 2010 on a platform they titled "The Pledge to America," which states they would reduce government spending to 2008 "pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels" and cut "at least $100 billion in the first year alone."

House GOP aides are now backing off that $100 billion figure. They insist they will still cut spending back to 2008 levels, but it won't add up to $100 billion. They insist the reason is because they made the $100 billion calculation based on the budget that President Obama offered, and that budget was never enacted. Therefore, the government is currently running on lower, 2009 spending levels and that will make the dollar figure of the GOP cuts smaller.

Republican aides confirm the "back of the envelope" number they will now use is about HALF the original estimate - $50-60 billion in cuts.

"House Republicans remain committed to fulfilling their Pledge; this has not changed," said Conor Sweeney, spokesman for the House Budget Committee.

"House Republicans will continue to work to reduce spending for the final six months of this fiscal year – bringing non-security discretionary spending back to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels – yielding taxpayers significant savings and starting a new era of cost cutting in Washington," he said.

Being generous to those in the minority was always an objective of the new majority, as articulated by the incoming GOP Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy back before the election:

"Bills won't be written in the back of the room, where the bills have to be laid out for 72 hours, where bills actually have an open rule, where people can bring amendments up on the floor, which any freshman congressman that's sitting there today has never even seen that happen under the rule of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats," McCarthy said on CNN "State of the Union" on October 10, 2010.

BUT – the health care repeal legislation, the first major bill that will move through Congress, will be a closed rule – meaning no one will be able to offer an amendment.

When asked about the this contradiction Tuesday night, Boehner said, "it's not like we haven't litigated this for years."

And, finally, the initial rules package that House Republicans will pass Wednesday had a provision to make committee attendance public. But the House GOP conference voted last night to strip that out (a move by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas). The goal had been transparency – who is at these hearings? But making that public will no longer be a requirement.

The reason? Some GOP lawmakers say they were concerned about getting slammed for missing hearings when they may have extenuating circumstances, like a death in the family.

Filed under: Congress • House Republicans
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. JB

    Wow, backtracking before your first day in office. Impressive GOP. Good job America. You got what you wanted. Thankfully, I have a good job and health insurance like my soon to be wife. I have given up on caring what happens to the people that have put these folks in office. Good luck America.

    January 5, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Vito

    Wow. These guys mean business. They're breaking their campaign promises before they are even sworn in! Nice work.

    January 5, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. AEK

    Okay...let's see a show of hands of all who thought the campaign rhetoric by the Republicans in the last election cycle was something they would or could actually accomplish.

    No hands, hummmmmm! Duped again and this time they even suckered the tea baggers!

    January 5, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    We are going to see two years of back tracking and lying from this group of morons. On the first day of Boner, there will be no focus on jobs. On the second day of Boner, repeal the health reform to hurt the middle class, seniors and children. The GOP is making a chum bucket smell good.

    January 5, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. james

    Even cutting $50 billion is better than adding $1 trillion to the debt in seven months and $5 trillion since 2008 as Democrats have done.

    January 5, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. Dustin

    Surprise, surprise..... What a bunch of power hungry liars...

    January 5, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA/The Fascists 112th Congress

    The lies have begun before they've even been sworn in.

    January 5, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. Barry from Wisconsin

    Figures. Republicans lie all the time. They use catch phrases, right-wing talk radio and the general ignorance of the public to gain control..and then, bend over, America, here it comes. The rich get richer and the poor an middle class get screwed.

    January 5, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. Americans returned the Reds to the helm of the U.S. Titantic, so this time they could steer into the iceberg and score a direct hit!

    Sure they "dial it back", all the fools bought the rhetoric now it is time to get to work.

    You stupid sheeple did not learn after 8 years?

    January 5, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Jeff Clemetson of San Diego

    READ – "bringing non-security discretionary" – the spending of people's tax dollars that goes to our cronies! If you think the Republican's will cut spending then I've got as bridge they just built in Iraq for three times what it actually cost to build to sell ya!

    January 5, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. Cheri

    Wow...are we surprised? NOT!

    January 5, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. Matt in ABQ

    Wow, imagine that say one thing to get elected–than do something different once in office.

    January 5, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Grog

    I am shocked... SHOCKED, I tell you!.. to hear that Republicans were merely pulling the legs of their Tea Party constituents... {yawn}

    January 5, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. HAHA

    Really??? Is ANYONE surprised that the Republican Party went back on their word?! Who saw this coming? Raise your hand!

    January 5, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Same old republican culture of corruption that we lived through under Bush.

    January 5, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. phoenix

    politicians are the scum of the earth the last politician who gave a hoot was congressman ryan back in 1978 he looked into the jonestown massacre and got shot to death.

    January 5, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. ~~ JULY ~~ ( Palin is the new Paris Hilton )

    Yeap. ............ they ' heard the american people' ........ yeap.

    January 5, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Democrats Class Warfare - Destroying the economy and country

    Don 't worry CNN... the only thing being "dialed back" will be the leftist policies of the last Congress. You might want to wait until the first day is even over before making such premature and ludicrous statements. What a typical leftwing media play!

    January 5, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Mike Hawthorne

    Haven't been working a day yet and they're already breaking their campaign promises? Seriously? Who voted for these clowns?? I'd rather see a whole new batch of people, in both parties. This is ridiculous.

    January 5, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Chandler02

    You can always count on the GOP to backtrack on their populist promises.

    January 5, 2011 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. Bill

    Not surprising, the GOP lied again to get their seats in office. Now the gypsies are back in the palace and you can expect them to loot it like its 2001.

    January 5, 2011 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. Wm Scot

    Well well well what do you think of that ! Suprise suprise suprise as Gomer Pyle would say. Did you really think that they would change from what they have been doing all these years ?

    January 5, 2011 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. Tom S.


    And after all that yelling about Obama's promises that they worked so hard to block.

    Nice move! That didn't take long.

    January 5, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. Robert Harris

    Boehner and Cantor joined at the hip. Of course, I wonder when Eric will get tired of being the one "up front" for contradictory and bad news; while John gets to present the party line? Please find me a picture in which Cantor isn't fawning over Boehner? At least we know one thing, they aren't the same person, we always see them in the same place.

    January 5, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. Mike in MO

    "extenuating circumstances," like a fundraiser. Or lunch with the lobbyist who is actually writing your bill. Or having a "prayer meeting" with your C Street buddies about how not to get caught. Or taking calls from your masters. Way too much time doing important stuff to be bothered with committee meetings or, God forbid, seeing constituents. Rock on, O Mighty Kings of Transparency Unless We Have Something To Hide.

    January 5, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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