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. Haskell Nixon

    Yawn! Nothing new here the republicans have been lying to the publick for years. why change now.

    January 5, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. lynn

    And you're surprised on their back-peddling, WHY. How gullible the voters were. The party of NO is also the party of Probably Not.

    January 5, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. Larry Bradenton, FL

    Me thinks me hears a Republican! Can You?

    flip-flop flip-flop flip-flop flip-flop flip-flop flip-flop flip-flop flip-flop

    January 5, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. LeftCoastMike

    Already backtracking afetr they conned the Tea Party crowd into voting for them. This has always been the "R' party M.O. The economy is taking off w/o their stupid ideas, and they are not going to create one job for the masses of unemployed Tea Party folks, just protect the estates of their rich corporate slobs. Controlling the House is to control nothing. In two years, Obama will be riding high and just like back in 1996, this ditzzy freshman crop of "R' party clowns will be sent packing. And then you will ask the question .... what did they do to help you?

    January 5, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. GOP Tea Party and Transparency in the same sentence is a Fallacy is the new Comgress, same as the old Congress....all cut from the same cloth!

    Backtracting on the only way politicians actually fulfil their campaign promises to the American people!

    Wish cry baby John Boehner can borrow me some of his cigars and that tan bed he just installed in his I can sit on my porch and see Russia with Palin on the horizon knocking off grizzlies with verbal-grenades!!!

    January 5, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. EricLr

    That was all just for show–to win the election. You didn't really expect them to actually *do* any of that stuff, did you?

    January 5, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    They need to heed their word......or it will backfire on them, in 2012.

    January 5, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. speekers

    Saw that coming!

    January 5, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. Namejilli

    Wow. What a surprise, republicans backtracking on their "pledge". Who would have seen that one coming?

    January 5, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. who woulda thunk it

    muahahahaha and so it begins

    January 5, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Leo

    lol less that 24 hours..... already taking back promises...

    January 5, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. PacificView

    Business as usual for the GOP. LOL!

    January 5, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. Sleepo

    Same old same old.
    Campaign: We're going to be so much more transparent than the outgoing party, and we're going to let anyone offer amendments, unlike the outgoing party.
    Actual: Not so much.

    Problem: I don't want to be slammed for missing a committee hearing when I have extenuating circumstances.
    Solution: Don't make attendance public. (Meaning I also won't be slammed when I miss *without* extenuating circumstances.)

    How about we make attendance public and let members who miss explain why they missed. Privacy concerns? Have a "standard" list of acceptable reasons and the member's explanation is on that list then only that it met the list gets published, not the actual reason. And make the list short and specific so we don't wind up with being able to claim a standard exception for having a meeting with a lobbyist.

    January 5, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. William

    You get what you vote for!

    January 5, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. Ken in NC

    Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas is an idiot. He is concerned about getting slammed for missing hearings when they may have extenuating circumstances, like a death in the family. This is not something that would happen every legislative day and when it does happen it is usually public knowledge when a member of Congress has a death in his family. Go home to Texas for the weekend and come back with a better excuse Louie.

    January 5, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. Y

    Did you think! They are politicians. Bad lawyers make politicians. Otherwise they would be in the private sector making money. Who wants to be in office anyway.

    They just wanted back in office. That's OK, hopefully they can't do to much damage in two years before they get thrown back out. If fact, they need to start holding those promises. Congress doesn't have much time left to fix things. If the whole systems fails its people, there is going to be hell to pay.

    January 5, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. Michael

    Are people really surprised? This is the definition of Washington conservatism. Fortunately, it provides a great comedic theater and fuels the nightly programs on MSNBC. I can't wait for the upcoming battles between the Republicans versus Tea Party. Two parties in one won't make for a good outcome in 2012.

    January 5, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Indiana Voter

    Boy you can tell the writers of the article, or political hack piece, are Democrats. They are already doing their best to discredit the Republicans. Won't work though. They tried that for the last two years, but the American people were smarter than the folks in the media. They have since wised up after the 2008 debacle, where America fell asleep and voted in the most unqualified candidate in U.S. history, besides the other Democrat Jimmy Carter, that is.

    January 5, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. PalmReader

    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.
    It will, though, keep all the GOPer/TeaPers happy ... empty promises for empty headed voters using empty legislation going nowhere.

    January 5, 2011 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. Four and The Door

    The budget Obama and Harry Reid were trying to push through for 2011 was just more of the same excessive spending that we have seen for the past two years. November elections have already saved taxpayers tens of billions of dollars, and that's just a start. By extending the tax cuts for everyone finally the economy will have a fighting chance for recovery. That is good for everyone...even Obama.

    January 5, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. USA First

    Surprise! Surprise! these thugs are more interested in their rigid idologies, one issue (tax break for super rich) than the country as a whole. The real question is can the country strong enough to withstand them for two more years... Can we educate good number of sheeps who are most hurt by their agenda but yet willing to elect/reelect them.

    January 5, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. Sniffit

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

    HAHAHAHA. And yet somehow they saw fit to claim that the defense bill that included repeal of DADT needed more debate, that the START treaty was "rammed through," that the ACA itself was "jammed down our throats" despite months and months and months of debate and consideration of hundreds of GOP-proposed amendments (even incorporation of many of them), etc. etc. etc.

    The reality is this: the GOPers are feckless, hypocritical walking piles of hot garbage and the vast vast majority of their base won't give a flying rat's pink patoot about it or about them walking back their promises because all they truly cared about when all was said and done was taking back power and destroying President Darky. Queue the rationalization talking opints beamed into their tindfouil hat idea reception devices from Libaugh, Beck and

    January 5, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  23. XWngLady

    Oh look, they're already parading around one of their, what is it now, 2 Black Republicans...Isn't it (he) cute?...Save it Republicans. We know what you're really all about, no matter what kind of coat you try to put on it.

    January 5, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. Eric

    1 day in power and they're already backtracking on the Pledge? Is that some kind of record?

    What exactly s a "back of the envelope number"?

    Hey, and how about that "open bill" thing?

    Or the "transparency" thing?

    But, hey, at least we can count on Sam Alito's classes on the constitution, and his argument that the 14th Amendment doesn't protect women against gender discrimination. On the first day of class, Michelle Bachmann should resign, go home and stay barefoot and pregnant, where the "originalist" framers of the Constitution intended her to be.

    The TP's must be thrilled!

    And let's all give a roud of applause

    January 5, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. JennyTX

    Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas is a total idiot. Have you seen him ranting about terrorist anchor babies? He is delusional.

    January 5, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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