Senate GOP shoring up votes for deep spending cuts
March 8th, 2011
06:09 PM ET
10 years ago

Senate GOP shoring up votes for deep spending cuts

Washington (CNN) - Senate Republican leaders Tuesday put pressure on GOP moderates balking at voting for a budget-slashing bill passed by House Republicans.

Democrats had planned to vote Tuesday on the House bill – which would cut government spending by $61 billion-as well as a competing, scaled-down, measure proposed by Democrats but Senate leaders indicated late Tuesday the vote would likely slide until Wednesday.

Democrats blamed Republican leaders for deliberately stalling action on the dueling spending bills so they could work to prevent politically damaging GOP defections from the House Republican bill. Democrats said sagging GOP support is proof that the cuts in the bill are too deep.

"Now it seems Republicans themselves must have finally read their own budget," Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said. "Because now even they're running away from it."

Republicans publicly denied they were stalling.

Republicans also pointed to problems Democrats have securing votes for their bill.

Freshman Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced Tuesday he would vote against the bill because it doesn't cut enough government spending. Several other moderate Democrats, surveyed by CNN, declined to say if they would support the bill.

The House GOP bill, which includes funding cuts for environmental protections, Planned Parenthood, low-income heating assistance and other programs, is difficult for many Republicans to support, said Senate Democratic whip Dick Durbin of Illinois.

"It's a painful vote for those who still cling to the belief they are moderate Republicans," he said. "I'm not going to name names but I can think of half a dozen Republicans who do not want to be on record cutting funding for Planned Parenthood."

Republicans leaders acknowledged they were struggling to unify their caucus.

Emerging from an hour-long meeting with all Senate Republicans Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, who as the whip is in charge of securing Republican votes, admitted he had more work to do.

Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the third ranking Republican, said leaders were trying to convince wavering GOP senators that $61 billion was the right spending reduction total but that many of the specific programs cuts in the House bill could be altered to ease senators' concerns.

"My sense is that Republicans are united in support of the amount of reductions that the House of Representatives has passed," Alexander said. "We'll want to reserve for ourselves the right to set our own priorities within that reduced amount."

One centrist GOP senator, who has not committed to voting for the Republicans bill, has been under enormous pressure from GOP leaders in recent days not to vote against the House bill, an aide told CNN.

Several other moderate Republicans surveyed by CNN refused to say how they will vote.

Frustrated over the delay, Reid accused Republican leaders of "reneging" on a deal reached last week in a meeting with Vice President Biden. At the time, leaders from both parties said they wanted to cast votes on the two bills in order to prove neither could muster enough support to pass the Senate and additional concessions would be needed from the right and left.

Filed under: Budget • Senate Republicans
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. one voice

    These rich GOP CRONIES want to take food from the mouths of the less fortunate children while standing by the MEGA RICH,BANKSTERS,OIL COMPANIES with WELFARE TAX BREAKS. You CROOKS have really pissed the middle class off now and if you don't take a 180 degree,you are TOAST. If You want it KINGS AND SERVANTS, WE WILL MAKE YOUR PARTY INSTINCT.

    March 8, 2011 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. Rickster

    "Government payouts—including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance—make up more than a third of total wages and salaries of the U.S. population, a record figure that will only increase if action isn’t taken before the majority of Baby Boomers enter retirement."
    This is disgraceful and totally unsustainable. Thanks alot democrats. And yet democrats will continue to fight every effort to reform this.

    March 8, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  3. Old Guy

    Hows about cutting the 40 billion subsidy going the the oil industry for beginners. Than we can go and address all the subsidys gioing to the farming industry. We're whining about pennies going to the needy while rich farmers are getting hundreds of thousands in free government money. Then there is all that welfare given to the military idustrial industry.

    March 8, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. Claude

    You, the GOP, give tax breaks to your rich friends and want to take both Social Secrity and Medicad fron the middle class.
    And the last election did not give you a mandate, the country was sold to the higest bidder.

    March 8, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. one voice

    If the voters come to their senses like they did in 2006 and 2008, this will be ANOTHER LANDSLIDE in 2012.:)

    March 8, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  6. TEA Bagger

    does it include cuts to congressional salaries and taxpayer-paid helalthcare benefits? it's time to do what you were sent to Congress to do Boehner, Cantor and Bachmann! you were sent to cut those costs...not wasting your time growing government through gay marriage. DO YOUR JOB! or you three will be the next to be fired from your jobs. we expect you to abide by our core principles of less government waste and smaller limited government.

    March 8, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    If these cuts go through, who in their right mind thinks the need for these services (teachers, police, fire, etc.) will suddenly disappear?

    But maybe that's the point, folks: The Republicans know that people will still need these services. And so the Republicans will launch their next phase: further privatizing government services, saying that the "free market" will regulate itself and "the private sector is more efficient."

    When the US is completely turned into a third-world nation, I don't want to hear ONE PEEP out of those who voted for these Republican jackals!

    March 8, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    House Majority Leader John Boehner sucks and the same for Eric Cantor, useless.

    March 8, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  9. Mike Hawthorne

    Here I thought elected officials were supposed to vote based on their conscience or the needs of their respective states, not just do what the "party" tells them to do. Funny how so many Republicans are exerting "enormous pressure" on some to toe the party line.

    March 8, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    You go repubes, destroy American workers, seniors, military, police, firemen, teachers, which will only make up a fraction of the revenue that you gave in Bush/republican tax cuts for the wealthy.

    March 8, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  11. GOP = Greed Over People

    Go ahead and just pass whatever the GOP wants and let's be done with it!

    We all know that a President that will let the elderly die by freezing to death will have no qualms joining the GOP and taking milk away from poor babies. Let the GOP cut all the domestic safety nets.

    Apparently this is 21st century America, totally self-absorbed and driven by greed and the belief every person for himself and if you stumble and fall, prepare to be trampled by the herd.

    May God have mercy on us all come Judgment Day!

    March 8, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  12. carrotroot

    The Senate is utterly worthless .... this goes for both parties, if you don't like the house bill then don't vote for it. If you want to cut heating fuel, defund planned parenthood, and encourage polluting ... then go a head - this is apparently what those miserable Tea Party people want you to do.

    March 8, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  13. Larry L

    The Republicans don't want to talk about the history of the mess they left the President. I know they lash-out at anybody blaming the Bush years for ruining America, but look at the actual chronology of events. The GOP had control, they mismanaged the government, and now they want to blame the Democrats. So now we're supposed to trust them to fix it?

    March 8, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |