House GOP trips up on spending cut figure it could have corrected long ago

But Republicans would have known this would happen way back in the fall when they first started using the $100 billion figure. That raises the question of why GOP communications shops did not start using a different figure weeks ago, at the very least, and explaining why it had changed. Instead, it popped up on the day that the national spotlight on them was brightest.

Some Republicans blamed the fact that Democrats failed to pass a budget last fall – a serious abdication of responsibility in its own right – and said it kept Republicans in such uncertainty that it was hard to accurately forecast what the true impact of their spending cuts would be.

“There was a lot of waiting to see what was going to happen and then a lot of catching up once we did know,” one House Republican leadership aide said.

But Doug Thornell, spokesman for Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland who is the ranking member on the House Budget Committee, said that if the GOP “wanted to blame us they should have done it a long time ago and stopped using the 100 billion number, but they didn’t.”

“I think they are scrambling for excuses,” Thornell said. “It begs the question, what other key promises are they going to break once their rhetoric runs into reality?”

And the GOP explanation flew in the face of what sticks out to regular voters. Spending levels are vague and amorphous political talk to most, and pointing the finger at the other guy rarely works. But figures in the billions and tens of billions of dollars are more concrete.

“My opinion [is] they didn’t really think about whether it was 2011 or 2012. They didn’t really care,” Meckler said. “They just wanted election year talking points. Truly astounding.”

Fortunately for Boehner and Republican leaders, none of the freshman GOP House members who spoke with TheDC on Wednesday expressed outright frustration with the change.

TheDC spoke with Tim Scott of South Carolina, Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Ben Quayle of Arizona, Dan Benishek of Michigan, and Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania. The closest any of them came to showing irritation with the change in the GOP’s spending cut commitment was when Ellmers rolled her eyes upon hearing a question about it.

“I don’t want to downplay what we’re looking at with numbers and amounts,” Ellmers said. “What I can say is we are very committed to doing something. It’s the only way we’re going to turn things around.”

Ellmers added: “I really hate when we put numbers on things, because then it seems like if you didn’t achieve it you hadn’t met your goal. The idea here, I believe, is to cut spending.”

  • Pingback: Male Figure Vol | Magazine Back Issues Online Now

  • Pingback: 100 Billion Dollar Backlash | RedState

  • craigiri

    Here’s the way it works.
    If they cut only 50 dollars, their base will be behind them. After all, 50 dollars here and 50 dollars there….you know, it adds up!

    People WANT to believe in their fantasies – heck, look at creationism and heaven/hell. Between the two of those, over 1/2 of Americans believe. It seems we have a government who reflects the population – that is, they engage in fantasy instead of facing reality.

    But can you blame them? After all, since the world in likely to END (according to MANY in the GOP) quite soon, why bother with future generations?

    Meanwhile, the center and left in this country actually understand that future generations WILL be here and that the world will not end in a clasp of thunder. Therefore they try to institute policies which help people and insure domestic tranquility, happiness, etc.

    But, according to the right, that is BAD STUFF.

    Make any sense?

    • theprofessor

      “engage in fantasy instead of facing reality.”

      Up your meds, maybe that’ll help.

  • dandapani

    STOP THE SPENDING and quit arguing about a number. Cut, cut, cut.

  • annbiz

    Ground Air Force One for the next Two Years! With that done, and Pelosi not jet-setting on our dime….we will see a big dent in the deficit.

  • jbotts

    Fred Thompson brought up a good point on his radio show. He said to never take a hostage you aren’t willing to shoot. Remember, GOP only controls house. Their budgets have to pass the senate and be signed by the chief executive. They get too greedy too fast and Obama decides to call their bluff the GOP will have to decide between:

    1) Government shutdown
    2) Backing down

    The second of the two is totally awful, the GOP looses all political momentum if it comes to pass.

    I’m not totally opposed to outcome number 1, but for some reason all of the slower students (middle of the road wishy washy independents) have a hard time with it.

    Obama says we need to cut the deficit, fine! Make him prove it. Lower the budget by 100 Billion dollars in FY 2011, and let the WH decide what gets cut. Then do it again in 2012. Hopefully in FY 2013 we have a Republican president and we can really get serious.

    It is unrealistic to think we can hit a bases empty 6 run home run just controlling the house.

  • notalone

    cut the dept of education wasteful budget plus the additional race to the top funds which, if I recall correctly, they just added another 1.3 billion to that. The only ones that win in that are the administrators. Our children are just being used and they are totally left behind.

  • coling

    I propose that reducing Federal spending to 2008 levels does not go far enough. This Congress needs to be bold and achieve permanent CHANGE!

    Quoting from a Cato Institute “Not So Great Depression” article in the January 7, 2009 edition of National Review Online:

    “Federal spending was cut from $6.3 billion in 1920 to $5 billion in 1921 and $3.2 billion in 1922. Federal taxes fell from $6.6 billion in 1920 to $5.5 billion in 1921 and $4 billion in 1922. Harding’s policies started a trend. The low point for federal taxes was reached in 1924; for federal spending, in 1925. The federal government paid off debt, which had been $24.2 billion in 1920, and it continued to decline until 1930.”

    The Roaring 20’s resulted! Can this Congress do the same?

    I propose that combining both Paul Ryan’s Roadmap and DownsizingGovernment.org is not enough. While the trillion dollar cut of Cato Institute is a lot of money, I propose there is much more to cut. The results (note not actions but results) of Harding and Coolidge should be the target for the 2011 House and Senate.

    • craigiri

      >>The roaring 20’s resulted……

      That is laughable.
      First of all, the roaring 20’s was largely a PARTY…..which was the result of the happiness at the end of the “war to end all wars”…
      “The phrase was meant to emphasize the period’s social, artistic, and cultural dynamism”….
      That means short dresses, flapper girls, party hardy and….of course….lots of BIG money made from illegal booze. Watch a bit of Boardwalk Empire (based loosely on real events) to get an idea of what Republicans were doing in the 20’s.

      Jazz was a bit part of the roaring 20’s – yes, that music that dope smoking black people invented….not much to do with the GOP.

      The roaring 20’s was also about URBANIZATION – New York and Chicago, here we come! Again, not exactly the “fly over middle America” chant of the GOP….who hate people that live in cities (or say they do).

      The roaring 20’s – in terms of economics – was closer to the Bush years….that is, a complete turning over of our government to the corporations. As Calvin Coolidge said then “The chief business of the American people is business”…..

      AND, that is what caused the Great Depression……the handing over of all control to the big corporate interests. Now we HAD history repeat itself – Bush, Cheny and their oil and GOP friends turned the country over to business, did away with regulations in force since the Great Depression….and BROKE US. Luckily, we barely avoid another complete depression, no thanks to the GOP congress…….

      Rewriting history must be fun. The problem is, the textbooks and history books are already written…and internet rants all go away soon.

      • theprofessor

        It’s not apparent what “textbooks” or “history books” you read, but you really should have done it sober.

        “(based loosely on real events) ”

        Describes your posts perfectly.