Setback for conservatives as many Republicans reject sharply deeper cuts
February 18th, 2011
05:26 PM ET
9 years ago

Setback for conservatives as many Republicans reject sharply deeper cuts

Washington (CNN) - In a highly visible setback for fiscal conservatives in the House, many Republicans joined the majority in rejecting an additional $22 billion in budget cuts after heated interparty debate.

The Republicans' free-wheeling and open approach to debate over a resolution to fund the government offered insight into disagreements within the party that played out on the House floor Friday. The head of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, authored an amendment that would have cut 5.5 percent from non-security funding across-the-board-slashing $22 billion more than the $60 billion the GOP leadership already had committed to cutting. The measure failed 147 to 281, with 92 Republicans and all Democrats voting against it.

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, had earlier encouraged members to build on the billions in cuts they had already voted to support.

"House conservatives believe we can do more," he said. "Let's do more. Let's do $22 billion more. Let's under-promise, over-deliver and set this nation back on a pathway toward fiscal responsibility and reforms."

But some Republicans had echoed Democratic concerns the cuts were haphazard and went too far. House GOP leaders Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, and California Republican Kevin McCarthy voted against the measure, but Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas voted for it. Speaker John Boehner did not vote, as is traditional for the speaker.

"Across-the-board cuts are lazy members' way to achieve something," said Rep. Dan Lungren, R-California, a member of the RSC.

Idaho Republican Mike Simpson, a senior member of the Appropriations committee, defended the level of the cuts in the overall bill and said the committee's approach to look at each agency separately was preferable to across the board cuts.

"This goes too far," Simpson said.

California Democratic Rep. Sam Farr said the bill was indiscriminate and ineffective.

"What you're seeing with this amendment is you're taking a meat axe to essentially a bloody mess," he said. "If we really wanted to deal with debt, you deal with a plan to get rid of debt, not just with a hacking and hacking away."

Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Florida, told his colleagues that while he was new to Congress, he was not new to fiscal responsibility. He faulted those opposing the $22 billion in cuts for not taking reform seriously.

"You know, I hear the word 'meat axe' and 'draconian,'" Southerland said. "What's 'draconian' and 'meat axe' is leaving every American in this country with $43,000 of national debt."

Filed under: Budget • Republicans
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. john

    P.S. The U.S. has the 2nd highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world...GEE...I wonder why companies send jobs overseas or don't set up jshop America....libs are such dummies.

    February 18, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  2. Emmitt Langley

    Don't give up fiscal conservatives. Fight the good fight. This is only the beginning. Those standing in the way of fiscal responsibility WILL be leaving office in 2012. Help is on the way!

    February 18, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. blake

    Stupid and dangerous move RINOs, moderates, and Mr. speaker. Superficial cuts is not going to get the job done. We need at least $1 trillion in cuts this year.

    February 18, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  4. GaryB

    It's easy to say "Let's cut 5% across the board." The problem is, there are some departments that protect the consumer, support our veterans, etc. that are already operating on shoestring budgets. Meanwhile, there are large corporations with no-bid contracts that are creating billionaires off the sweat of the average American taxpayer. That's where we need to be making cuts, but to ask the GOP to ferret out that waste we be asking them to bite the hand that feeds them.

    February 18, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    For the sake of conversation, lets say we cut 100% of ALL "entitlements." What would Republicans do then to BALANCE THE BUDGET???

    Another TAX CUT???

    February 18, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. Reggie from LA

    So here's what you do lawmakers. Apparently you are unafraid to insist on making cuts. You tell the middle class all the time (in so many words) "you've got to make sacrifices". Why don't you go tell the wealthiest Americans "you've got to make sacrifices?" Because you are afraid to bite the hands that feed your sorry a$$es. Why shouldn't EVERYBODY take the beating, not just the folks that the rich will sacrifice. Why aren't you asking THEM to do THEIR parts? Instead you gave them tax breaks. They and you owe us some jobs for that. Make THEM pay, you gutless weasels. Cuts are not across the board. You're liars.

    February 18, 2011 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  7. BroncoTed

    You're cutting up to 122 billion dollars in a 3.8 trillion budget? So what does that do? Oh, we only have a 3.68 trillion budget then. Nice job Republicans, you're sooooooo much fiscally responsible. I want that debt down to 0. Why can't you deliver what you promised!

    February 18, 2011 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. Joe

    I "owe" more on my "share" of the national debt than I owe on my house trailer and truck put together.

    February 18, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  9. ahcrap

    They can cut all they want but the buck stops in the senate , so the pubs are lame ducks for now. In all my years I have never seen a pub make a sound decision or do anything for their country... They are like a private little party of fools.

    February 18, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
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