Trust but verify. That is Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson’s advice to the American people concerning House Republicans’ latest promise to attach $100 billion of cuts to an upcoming vote on the budget continuing resolution. The current resolution expires March 4th.
“The American people need to verify that current spending levels will actually be cut by $100 billion. No gimmicks,” Wilson said after House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers promised to go back to work on the bill.
Chairman Rogers’ first proposal only contained $35 billion in cuts from current spending levels, falling way short of the House Republicans’ Pledge to America. Last year, they promised to “roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone and putting us on a path to balance the budget and pay down the debt.”
Wilson explained, “It does not matter what Barack Obama proposed for Fiscal Year 2011, because his budget was never adopted.” Previously, the GOP was saying that it was pegging its proposed cuts to the Obama budget baseline.
“That’s not what the Pledge said,” Wilson said, adding, “A promise to cut $100 billion can only be understood as a $100 billion cut from current spending levels, or else it’s just another stunt.”
Wilson noted that Rogers’ first proposal had “received a very poor reception” around Capitol Hill, drawing fire from free market and limited government groups.
The weak proposal also prompted Rep. Jim Jordan to offer another $65 billion in cuts so that House Republicans would keep their pledge. And it encouraged ALG to launch www.keepthepledge.org, a petition urging the American people to contact their representatives to express their concerns over the spending proposal and hold them accountable.
“Republicans need to keep their pledge,” Wilson declared, noting that voters sent Republicans back into power largely on the premise that they would bring the nation’s fiscal house into order.
In other words, voters will have a hard time believing them this time around if they cannot even stick with their pledge of at least $100 billion of immediate cuts.
Wilson praised Rep. Jordan for his leadership to fight for the full $100 billion. “Representative Jordan has a solid, well conceived proposal that will meet and exceed that goal,” he said, adding, “The Jordan proposal must be incorporated into the Continuing Resolution.”
In an email to supporters, Jordan spokesman Wesley Goodman gave some details about the new Rogers’ proposal to cut $100 billion: “[O]nly $84 billion of those cuts are in non-security discretionary spending, as promised in our Pledge to America. While we do not necessarily object to the $16 billion in security-related spending cuts, we are continuing to call for an additional $16 billion of non-security discretionary spending cuts for FY 2011.”
Which means Rep. Jordan will still be coming to the floor to fight for another $16 billion of cuts.
With House Speaker Boehner’s new open rules, those cuts will get an up or down vote. In a February 9th press conference, Speaker Boehner promised to “allow the House to work its will.”
“I’ll take a look at the amendments,” Boehner added, talking on spending cut proposals that individual members might bring to floor. “And let’s let the House decide.”
Which means the majority rules. On that note, it is hard to imagine that Jordan’s proposal for another $16 billion in cuts would not secure an overwhelming majority of House Republicans.
After all, the GOP cannot afford to dispirit the very voters that just sent them back into power. They lost control in 2006 because they spent too much and lost touch with their political base of support. Hopefully, by putting the $100 billion in immediate cuts back on the table, they are determined to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
As ALG’s Wilson pointed out, “To the American people, a promise broken is rarely forgotten.”
Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government (ALG) News Bureau.Americans for Limited Government is a non- partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms,private property rights and core American liberties.