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. BGS

    BWAHAHAHA! The clown car just pulled up to the Cspitol building. These jokesters didn't waste any time backpedaling, did they? Enjoy your two years, Repubs–it'll be that long before America realizes why they voted you out the last time.

    January 5, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Don

    And who does this surprise. The republicans are going to go right back to screwing us. They promised the world to get in office, hoping that people would forget the braindead Bush ERA, and vote them in, and that's exactly what happened. Well, all I can say is, whoever voted for them, I hope you have alot of grease when they bend you over.

    January 5, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Robert

    In other words, House Republicans plan to use their big "mandate" to return to business as usual. Three broken promises in one day. Must be a record.

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

    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. Just tell us......if you have extenuating circumstances, we will understand.

    January 5, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Margaret

    Did that set a record for breaking campaign promises? Broken before they were even sworn in?

    January 5, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. Nick , California

    Excuses.. Excuses.. Excuses!!! The power grab is becoming more visible every day! Republicans are so disappointing.. absolutely no solutions, but plenty of complaining and pointing fingers! They ran their campaigns on fiscal restraint, but then spent a trillion including pork! They say 100 billion cut, well technically only half, and repealing a law that will never pass the Presidents desk.. only killing time for some grand scheme to out our President. Games, games, games... using the poor and middle class as a punching bag...unethical, hypocritical, self righteous, ego driven, and just plain wrong. I would trust them if they actually lived up to their own standards and showed some humility, but that's just not the Republican way!

    January 5, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. infidel

    Just so you know for next time: this is a classic example of "Smoke and Mirrors". The GOP are masters at it.

    January 5, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. anthony

    "the government is currently running on lower, 2009 spending levels and that will make the dollar figure of the GOP cuts smaller."

    So, the truth is out. Obama was spending money at the 2009 level (which was actually a Bush budget), and despite Republicans' pledge to cut spending to 2008 level, they can find only 50-60 billion to cut (in a budget that is almost 4 trillion). Make the huffing and puffing by Republicans about Democrats' runaway spending sound pretty hollow, doesn't it?

    January 5, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. Clyde

    IMAGINE that!! not just BARELY in the driver seat and already breaking their PLEDGES!!........UNLESS you are rich and screw the rest of us that really have to work HARD for what we get!! and so worried that the insurance companies make as much as possible at our expense to pay OUTRAGEOUS saleries and bounuses that NO ONE works even near hard enough to earn.My wife takes care of the elderly on a daily basis and has for over 20+ years and she gets paid NOTHING like she should be paid for taking care of people and she really enjoys her job but these clowns make more for NOTHING.

    January 5, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. sammieb51

    One word for Boehner - where are the jobs for Ohio Boehner? One of the hardest hit states in the country and no one asks him the question. Instead he asks Obama where the jobs are!! Isn't that a congressman's job - grow jobs in his own state? But yes, go after that nasty old healthcare bill, which the majority of folks want!! And we now have a Budget Czar too!!

    January 5, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. M

    So, what they're saying is that they want bipartisanship and transparency only when it serves their interests or doesn't potentially make them look bad. Typical.

    So to those who thought the Republicans they voted into office were going to bring change and reform, how's that working out for you? Do you feel duped yet?

    January 5, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. AR1000

    Wow already. Prepare to become the minority again in 2012.

    January 5, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Jim

    Wow, that has to be a record... Let's see, is anyone surprised that they couldn't keep their unrealistic promises? Please...

    January 5, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. Gobama!

    Republicans. HA!

    January 5, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Name king

    Same old hypercritical repugs, they'll jump in the coolaid when it's against the dems but scared to pour the coolaid when it's their time to serve. Why these people keep lessoning to their talking points and empty rederics is beyond me. These repugs have no clue how to govern in an economy.

    January 5, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. Katie

    Oooooo, they haven't even taken the oath and they're already backtracking on their "pledge" – that must be some kind of record!

    Where's the outrage tea baggers? You've been duped, again. Is it starting to sink in yet? Was hiring a mass of lobbyists on theirs staffs ok with your "grassroots movement"? Is walking back their "pledge" ok with you?

    Are the republicans going to hear the voices from the "grassroots", you know the real "patriots" through the voices of the lobbyists they've hired?

    Just wondering if disillusion has set in because the contempt the republican legislators are showing toward the "grassroots" that elected them is pretty blatant – like a sharp stick in the eye of all the glazed over tea baggers.

    January 5, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. sane citizen

    And the back-pedaling begins . . .iImmediately. I find it so hard to believe that any working class American would be fooled into letting these clowns be in charge of cleaning the bathroom let alone enacting laws which have a terrible impact on the working class. It's downright shameful.

    January 5, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. derrick

    Liar Liar your pants on fire!!

    January 5, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. derrick

    All eyes were on the jobs picture Wednesday after ADP said private-sector employers added 297,000 jobs in December, blowing away forecasts for a rise of just 100,000 and marking the best reading in the report's 10-year history. Service-providing sector jobs led the way, surging by 270,000, while small businesses also added a whopping 117,000 jobs

    So what lies will you republicans come up with next to put down this President? It is Obama's policies that prevented the economic collapse and it is his policies that most of you hypocrites railed against that is now growing the economy again.......choke on that republicans

    January 5, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. paul

    Republicans will "back track" on a lot of issues. They are the masters of campaigning to do this and do that but once the election is over, it is right back to the usual. I think Obama is close to 80% on his campaign promises with two years to go on his first term. If the Republicans can come close to that it will be a miracle. Boehner even missed the vote on helping 9-11 responders so I am sure he had that attendance requirement stripped.

    January 5, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    Raise your hand if you didn't see major walkbacks on their promises coming the instant they pubilshed that asinine "Pledge."

    If your hand is up, please report immediately to the nearest short bus. There is one leaving every hour to take you from Lala Land to an appropriate padded facility.

    January 5, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Republicans Are The American Taliban anyone who voted Republican...get ready for the Full Monty!

    January 5, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. jim

    america sucks more and more – let it burn

    January 5, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. 11cavnam

    Already distancing themselves from their advertised promises. Shame that the "Truth in Advertising" laws somehow do not include politicans. It should, after all, they are selling a product, namely themselves. BOTH parties should be held accountable to campaign promises. If a regular person applies for a job stating that they can and will do certain tasks, and once hired, they renege on those promises, they can be fired, why not politcans? Why should we have to wait for another election to fire them? If I lie I am fired, same should hold true for politicans.

    January 5, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Most Americans voted to "go back" to the way it was before Obama came into office."

    Actually Captain MIsinformed, MOST Americans didn't vote in the mid-terms. There was an abysmal turnout of approximately 41% of eligible voters which, added to the fact that the GOP didn't really take anything but half of Congress, doesn't really argue very well for their high-falooting daydreams of having received a broad mandate. Compare that to the 61% who turned out when Obama and the Dems received an actual mandate.

    January 5, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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