New report causing GOP confusion, and concern about defections
April 14th, 2011
02:42 PM ET
9 years ago

New report causing GOP confusion, and concern about defections

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Washington (CNN)- House Republican leaders, already facing GOP defections over a spending bill many think doesn't cut enough, are now scrambling to stem Republican concern that what it does cut is only a fraction of what's being advertised.

At issue is a new report from the Congressional Budget Office that says while the spending bill does cut roughly $38 billion, only a small part of that – $352 million – will be realized this year.

The discrepancy centers around the arcane difference between what's known as budget outlays, how quickly money is spent, and budget authority, how much agencies are allowed to spend on a given program.

House Speaker John Boehner admitted this has "caused some confusion" among rank and file Republicans.

He even went to the floor of the House with charts and graphs.

"There are some who claim that the spending cuts in this bill aren't real, that they are gimmicks. Well, I just think it is total nonsense. A cut is a cut," he said.

CNN is told by multiple GOP leadership sources that they are scrambling behind the scenes to try to reassure Republican lawmakers the cuts are real, so that they don't lose even more votes than they had already anticipated.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy sent out a fact sheet Wednesday night, and arranged an emergency meeting for House GOP lawmakers Thursday morning with former CBO director Doug Holtz-Eakin to try to calm concerns they are voting for what some worry are spending cuts that are smoke and mirrors.

CNN is told by two GOP sources that meeting got intense, as GOP lawmakers expressed skepticism about the spending cuts the Speaker negotiated with Democrats.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told CNN they are "making sure" that the message is getting out that they believe these are real spending cuts.

"I would just say this, the budget process as you know is very arcane. You have outlay issues and you have budget authority issues. The bottom line is we're cutting spending here. There's $38 billon in budgetary authority that is reduced off of the current fiscal year," said Cantor as he walked into the Speaker's office.

Freshman Republican Joe Walsh, R-Illinois, is still not convinced, even after reviewing Holtz-Eakin's analysis Wednesday night and talking to him by phone.

"It certainly doesn't help the case," said Walsh, who added that this has been subject of multiple internal meetings since Wednesday night.

Rep Jack Kingston, R-Georgia, also said the CBO report is causing confusion, but also cautioned that Republican leaders shouldn't "oversell" what the budget deal does in terms of cutting spending and need to talk about the bigger efforts he says House Republicans are moving on to make next.

"This is a good day's work but it's not the year's work," Kingston said.

Kingston said Republican defections on the budget vote won't have any long term impact on Speaker Boehner keeping the GOP conference together because the party is united on the bigger budget battles ahead.

"I think he's going to be fine because the big policy changes are in the Ryan budget and not in the CR cuts. And then since the Democrats are attacking Ryan led by the President of the United States that's going to reunify us and regain whatever ground any inside the family leadership might need."

Filed under: GOP
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Independent Voter

    It seems Boehner can't even deliver the votes from his side for a bill he touted and then agreed to with the Senate and the President. Is he politically impotent?

    We're going to have a shut down or a debt ceiling debacle and it's going to be his fault. He'd better learn how to "herd those cats" in his party

    April 14, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  2. The Other Dale

    You've got to hand it to Obama – he played the Republicans for suckers and now the Republicans are stumbling over themselves trying to prove why the budget is "great" and that they've done good work when the Tea Partiers are already barking about how horrible it is. Not that the Republicans have needed much help in looking stupid the past couple of years, but – man – Obama has managed to tear up the Republican "unity" even further.

    April 14, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    What? Suddenly, CBO's numbers matter to them again and are considered credible enough for their hive-mind to become schizophrenic? Well, I guess we CAN count all that money health care reform is saving AND how much extrea it would cost to repeal it.

    Actually, the answer to this is simple, CNN...algebra. Were the amounts that were "cut" part of the total that was calculated when advertising to everyone that the deficit is $X? If so, then something has been removed from the deficit and the "cuts" shoudl be considered real. If they were not part of the total $X deficit everyone's been talking about, then they're just accounting gimmicks. The question of whether they represented "actual spending" is a little bit of a red herring.

    April 14, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Mr. Speaker, you don't need a majority in your caucus to do the people's work. All you need is the will of the people, check the polls to see what they want. Right now, what the people want is not want many in your caucus wants.

    Sorry about the green card, Mr. Speaker. But, I have always expressed confidence that you can get bills passed when something needs to get passed.

    April 14, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. annie s

    Um, the democrats and the President are attacking Ryan's budget because it stinks. Taking from those who can least afford it to hand it over to the rich is a lousy way to do business at any time, but especially in these difficult economic times. Besides, how many times do we try the same old trickle down class warfare policies? It's not like it's ever worked.

    April 14, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. Positive

    My advice to Republicans and Democrats alike is to vote for a reasonable plan like President Obama's. Unless this country has really gone off the rails, the Medicare-destroying, give-even-more-taxcuts-to-the-wealthy Republicans who think only the top 2% wealthiest matter, will not be re-elected.

    April 14, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. BeanerECMO

    Firstly, calling potential dissenters like Jane Fonda going to North VietNam does not engender confidence in the republicant (sic) leaders or their staffs. Secondly, if the deal was such a win for the republicants, why is the legacy touting it as such? Thirdly, why did the republicants get rolled on the latest CR when BHO demonstrated he considers the military non-essential federal employes when he said he would veto the bill (a distraction) to have the military continued to be paid without a CR? Grow a pair – cojones or ovaries; it doesn't matter because it would be more than what you have.

    April 14, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. LA, LA, LA

    Is Boehner going to shed some tears?

    April 14, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. Positive

    I can't believe Americans elected people who's great plan is to cut Medicare entirely, except for some near worthless "vouchers" that will only serve to enrich more CEOs but provide little for those of us who have paid into the system all our lives, while giving even more tax cuts to the top 2%.

    Really, this is what some Americans think is best for our future?

    April 14, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. ConservaFascists/FUBAR

    "I think he's going to be fine because the big policy changes are in the Ryan budget and not in the CR cuts. And then since the Democrats are attacking Ryan led by the President of the United States that's going to reunify us and regain whatever ground any inside the family leadership might need."
    Americans oppose the Ryan budget. Can't you fascists get that thru your thick skulls already? You guys must not look at the polls. An overwhelming majority do NOT want you trying to balance the budget by messing with Medicare, Medicaid or SSI. We want you to raise taxes on the wealthy. 80% of Americans believe that and 37% of republicans believe that. You're on the wrong side of this issue.

    April 14, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    House Speaker John Boehner admitted this has "caused some confusion" among rank and file Republicans.
    Confusion: what usually happens when you know jack-squat about the subject at hand.
    The smoke and mirrors show the RethugliKKKLans put on for the voters in November is causing a whole lot of choking, and gagging.

    April 14, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Alex

    Republicans don't understand how the budget works – what's new????

    April 14, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. LacrosseMom(real one)

    This is SO funny! The Tea Baggers must be as angry as hell!

    April 14, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. Politicians are Angels and Teachers are now Devils according to the gospel of GOP Tea Party

    Didn't I hear on FAUX NEWS the other day that crybaby Boehner was the winner in the budget shutdown stalemate last week?...

    I guess the GOP got snookered by President Obama and Harry Reid again...GOP-Tea Party promising $100 billion in spending cuts but ended up with only a paltry sum of $352 million. Baby Boehner dont even know how to negotiate his right from his that's rich! Lol

    April 14, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. fayse

    confusion,dissention,defection, infighting. The Tea Party has created an implosion within the GOP. Exactly as expected by the majority of the American people.

    April 14, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. rs

    The circular firing squad that is the Republican/Tea Party continues, and the steering wheel is full-lock to the right. They might deserve this for the 8 Bush years; deifying fools like Bachmann, Palin and Trump; and thinking you can balance any budget with the largesse of welfare for the rich off the backs of the poor. It's mighty unpleasant to watch though.

    April 14, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. Chas in Iowa

    Ryan's budget is going to go a long ways when the public gets wind of the additional big tax breaks for the wealthy as he strips the safety net oput from under the struggling middle class.
    It'll be dead on arrival and anyone who subscibes to this kind of budget will be fodder in the 2012 elections. It's going to be interesting to see how the GOP tries to convince the American public that Ryan's budget holds water. The old "job creation" montra is totally worn out.

    April 14, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Stacey

    "And then since the Democrats are attacking Ryan led by the President of the United States that's going to reunify us and regain whatever ground any inside the family leadership might need."

    Yeah, right! We'll see about that come November 2012. It is my hope that the vicious, hateful GOP gets voted out and stays out for a long time. Let the rich vote for the GOP; afterall that's who the GOP represents and works for.

    April 14, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. Rick McDaniel

    They really don't even know what's going on, now do they?????

    April 14, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. Steve

    Part of the problem is that if you give politicians an inch, they'll be furious that you didn't give them a mile. Compromise is how things get done in politics, but politicians today are so staunchly "yes" or "no" about things that they refuse to concede a point. Whereas in the days of Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton, both sides had to make concessions, these days, people like the Tea Party refuse to make any concessions whatsoever. Thus, nothing gets done.

    April 14, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    Republicans love rope. Can't get enough of the stuff. PIcked out a ceiling fan yet guys?

    April 14, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  22. REG in AZ

    It is justified to commend the Tea Party movement for pushing for deficit reduction, cutting government spending and advocating financial responsibility. However, reality dictates that taking it to the extreme can actually reverse the recovery, be ineffective (even costing more) and then simply serve the interests of only the few. The ultra-conservatives who initiated, finance and control the movement are aggressively focused on selling, rationalizing and manipulating to achieve their interests without concern for anything else – this is totally obvious in what they seek to protect, what they strive to achieve and in the subterfuge they offer to con the people. As with most everything, moderation and a centrist position is likely the real best for the majority and is far more realistic. It is up to the people to see through the self-interests and to demand responsible and honest concentration on what is best for the majority.

    April 14, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |