The media told us that, despite stunning Tea Party driven election gains for the GOP last November, nothing much was going to change in Washington and the Tea Party backed freshmen in Congress were going to be co-opted by the GOP old guard.
Surprise: The media was wrong.
During the 2010 campaign, the GOP pledged to cut $100 billion from the Federal budget. Because their first fiscal year in power is half over – fiscal years begin in October – GOP leadership proposed a semi-prorated $74 billion in cuts this year. The rank and file wasn’t having it, and the $74 billion plan was scrapped.
Now they’re going back for the full $100 billion.
Of course, the media who said this could never happen is painting this as a “stinging rebuke” and an “apparent party rift,” and have painted the “Tea Party-backed freshman” as winners and Paul Ryan as a loser. It’s not like that. It’s a healthy debate. They’re just not used to it, because you don’t see this kind of thing with a botoxed control freak taskmaster like Nancy Pelosi in charge.
Don’t be sure this wasn’t all planned, either, to bring attention to the fact that the deep cuts demanded by the voters last November were coming to fruition.
In a stinging rebuke to party leadership, Republicans on the Appropriations Committee abandoned plans to seek only $74 billion in cuts just hours before their continuing resolution was set to be unveiled.
A Republican leadership aide downplayed the apparent party rift, telling the Hill that the battle over the spending resolution prompted “one of the biggest and best debates that we have ever had as a conference in a very long time.”
“We’re having all kinds of conversations with the freshmen, the [Republican Study Committee], leadership, chairmen — this is how the House is supposed to work. It’s not supposed to come from one office,” the source said.
Interior and Environment Appropriations subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) struggled to explain the leadership’s backtracking on Thursday.
He defended the earlier proposal from leadership as legitimately living up to the Pledge to return to 2008 levels of spending but said he could see why member were unhappy.
“There are an awful lot of members of our conference, who said, ‘No, I committed to cutting $100 billion,’” he said.
“The promise got away from us, but it is a promise that we made to the American people,” he said. “If that is what the conference wants to do, I am willing to do that. I can cut the Interior Department in half … just tell me a number and I will get a bill there.”