House Republicans changing their tune on spending cuts?

Recently, I noted that the national debt has increased by over $1.59 trillion since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. Most Republican apologists will dismiss this since Speaker John Boehner and company have to work with a Democratic Senate and President Barack Obama. It’s a valid point, but only to an extent. Why? Because a chunk of House Republicans are constantly voting with House Democrats to prevent spending cuts.

And we’re not talking about massive spending cuts here. The Club for Growth notes that 95 House Republicans recently voted against a 0.27% across the board spending cut (that’s not a typo) to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill. Over at RedState, Erick Erickson notes some other proposed spending cuts that went down thanks to House Republicans:

You probably didn’t realize this because, for some reason, no one is reporting it. So here are just a few of the amendments the House defeated last week. If you’re not happy with this record House Republicans are compiling this election year, let them know now!

Amendments to H.R. 5325, the Energy and Water Appropriations Act, which contains more spending than last year’s bill:

McClintock (R-CA) – Cuts the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program by $1.45 billion. Rejected 113-275.
Chaffetz (R-UT) – Cuts the Advanced Manufacturing Program by $74 million, to FY 2011 levels. Rejected 140-245.
McClintock (R-CA) – Eliminates nuclear energy research subsidies (saves $514 million). Rejected 106-281.
Chabot (R-OH) – Eliminates funding for the regional commissions, such as the Appalachian Regional Commission (saves $99.3 million). Rejected 141-276.
Blackburn (R-TN) – Cuts 1% across the board (would cut $321 million). Rejected 157-261.
Mulvaney (R-SC) – Brings the bill toward RSC budget levels by cutting a total of $3.1 billion across almost all accounts. Rejected 125-293.
King (R-IA) – Prohibits funding of Davis-Bacon union wage requirements. Rejected 184-235.
Flake (R-AZ) – Across the board spending cut that would keep funding at FY 2012 levels ($87.5 million savings). Rejected 144-274.

And note that, while Members were voting against spending cuts, they also passed a Legislative Branch Appropriations bill (H.R. 5882) that would keep congressional office operating budgets the same as last year. The same? No cuts, even while Americans all over the country have to cut back their office operating budgets? Can our representatives really be this out of touch?

Don’t act surprised. Republicans in Congress tipped their hand long ago. As I’ve noted, they don’t want to touch defense spending — in fact, they’re trying to overturn sequestrations — and they’re talking about bringing back the the untransparent earmarking process; that way it’ll be easier for Boehner and Cantor to win over votes of on-the-fence members.

With the presidential election and economy keeping the focus, many conservatives and Tea Party activists are looking the other way or simply not paying attention — I would hope it’s the latter. But if Republicans start getting it in their heads that they can get away without living up to the reforms and budgetary promises made, whatever wins they are able to gain this fall may be short-lived and they’ll be right back where they were after the election in 2006 — out of power and again trying to convince their unmotivated base that they’ve learned their lesson.


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