Republican Study Committee
Following Rep. Tom Price’s disappointing defeat in the race for chair of the House Republican Conference, an early indicator of how the GOP plans to work in the next Congress, conservatives looking to keep some measure of independence lost another leadership battle yesterday. Members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) selected Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who is viewed as an ally to Speaker John Boehner, over Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) to led the group of House conservatives:
Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana is the new face of the conservative movement in the House of Representatives. At least according to the Republican Study Committee, a caucus representing the right wing of the party.
The RSC elected Scalise to be their new chairman Thursday, taking over from Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. Scalise beat Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia for the position, despite the fact that the committee’s founders and past chairmen came out in support of Graves.
“From the beginning I felt like this ought to be a member-driven organization and the members should decide who’s the next chairman,” Scalise told the Alley.
Scalise said that Graves ran a great campaign for the position and that the major differences between the two of them was not in policy but in leadership style.
“The American people chose the Republican House to serve as the only line of defense against Barack Obama’s liberal agenda, and the RSC must stand tall as the conservative rudder, steering the House towards more conservative solutions as we work to get our country back on the right track,” he said in a statement.
Last week, I mentioned that Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) was running for chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group that guides conservative policy in the House. Graves has already received the support of the founders of RSC, but he picked up another endorsement yesterday from FreedomWorks, which has help guide activists in the freedom movement over the last few years:
FreedomWorks announced its commitment today to endorse Tom Graves for the position of Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman. The RSC serves as a fiscally conservative check on Republican leadership, and gives principled men and women of Congress without years of seniority the opportunity to affect real change.
FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe commented, “Tom Graves is currently one of the best votes in Congress, scoring 100% on our 2011 legislative scorecard. While others abandoned the ideas of fiscal responsibility and limited-government, Graves took a stand and voted against the Budget Control Act and the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government. We need a strong voice to ensure that good economic policy triumphs over politics as usual in Congress, and Tom Graves is the man for the job.”
Graves was also a recipient of the FreedomWorks Legislative Entrepreneur Award during his service in the Georgia State House, where he created a fiscally conservative caucus.
Graves has competition in the race from Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who is closely aligned with House Speaker John Boehner, who is increasingly trying to make sure House Republicans are on board with him through the “fiscal cliff” debate.
With the election finally over, Republicans in Congress will soon being electing leaders for the next session. There are signs that GOP leadership in the House are already starting to waiver. That’s why strong voices are need to keep them accountable.
The Republican Study Committee (RSC) has been a voice for fiscal conservatism in the House, fighting for real spending cuts, tax reform, and solving the looming crisis with entitlements. With more than 160 members in its ranks, the RSC will play a significant role in the discussion over fiscal policy in the House over the next two years and it needs a new leader, a fresh face with strong ideas on these important issues.
On Wednesday, Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), who is running for chairman of the RSC, explaining his vision for the group as conservatives in Congress enter tough times. Calling it “RSC 2.0,” Graves said that his “mission for RSC is rooted in three parts: Casting a Vision. Building Consensus. Achieving Results.” In his e-mail, Graves also notes, “The challenges we will face in the next two years are predictable and easily forecasted.”
“By Casting a Vision, RSC can plan and prioritize by developing solutions that strategically embrace our conservative principles and align them with tomorrow’s challenges,” Graves explained, adding, “Let’s be proactive, not reactive.” You can read Graves’ full “RSC 2.0” plan at the bottom of the post.
Graves knows that conservatives in the House must accomplish their goals. And, perhaps more importantly, Graves notes, “We can become results driven, with a ‘yes if’ approach instead of ‘no because,’ and equipping RSC members to infuse our ideas throughout the entire legislative process, not just on the floor.”
Graves also sent around this video to colleages:
As you know, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) presented his budget last week. While there are some positives in his proposal, it doesn’t do enough to get the country back on a sustainable path. This is why conservatives in Congress, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and the House Republican Study Committee, have rolled out their own separate proposals to deal with the long-term fiscal issues that pose a real threat to our future prosperity.
So, let’s say you’re a conservative or libertarian and you’re trying to figure out what budget to get behind. Well, our friends over at FreedomWorks have put together a handy budget report card (click on the chart below to open the PDF) that will help compare and contrast the various options on the table:
So-called “progressives” in Congress have also rolled out their own budget, which is worse than what President Barack Obama has submitted, raising taxes by 40% and increasing the deficit by some $6 trillion.
Over the last few days, there has been a lot of talk about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for FY 2013. Democrats are, as you might imagine, slamming it at every turn they get, claiming the spending cuts are too deep. However, many conservatives and Tea Party activists are skeptical over it because it doesn’t cut spending enough to bring the country back on a sustainable path quickly enough.
Veronique de Rudy, a research fellow at the Mercatus Center, compares both Ryan’s budget and the spending proposed by President Barack Obama and finds a marginal difference:
At $3.53 trillion in total spending, the Ryan plan is only 5 percent less than the president’s. Where the Ryan plan projects an annual average growth of projected spending from 2013 to 2022 at 4 percent, the president’s plan projects it at 5 percent.
Of the $5 trillion in savings in the Ryan plan’s 10-year spending projections, compared to Obama’s, $352 billion would come from discretionary programs, $2.5 trillion from so-called entitlements, and $514 billion from interest costs.
Apart from a modest reduction in spending for Medicare and Medicaid, the only significant difference between the two plans is the anticipated repeal of the 2010 health care law. Social Security ($10.5 trillion) and funds for the “global war on terrorism” ($500 billion) are left untouched in both plans.
Cumulative spending over the next 10 years under both the Ryan plan ($40 trillion) and the White House plan ($45 trillion) pale in comparison to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of $47 trillion—an estimate based on historical spending patterns and realistic assumptions about laws that are set to expire.
The White House Press Secretary had an interesting day yesterday. He was asked several times about President Obama’s debt-ceiling plan. Well, there isn’t one, and the folks on the right are chomping at the bit. I can certainly understand why. Oh sure, Press Secretary Jay Carney gave hints about the plan, but wouldn’t go into detail. He said, “We’re showing a lot of leg.” When pressed for more, he mockingly said, “You need it written down?”
Well, yeah. It would help.
A couple of years ago, the White House derided the GOP because they didn’t have it written down. Republicans were supposedly “unserious” because they didn’t have a budget. So, the Republicans produced a framework. They “showed a lot of leg”, if you will. Then Press Secretary Robert Gibbs mocked it because it didn’t have the specifics he felt it should have. Sort of like how Obama’s plan seems to lack a lot of specifics.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of that “if you don’t have a plan, you shouldn’t be part of the conversation” crap. I don’t think Obama should just shut up because he doesn’t have a plan all his own. However, I do believe that the President probably should have a plan of his own to put forth.
Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit proposes that the reason there isn’t a specific plan is because Obama knows that he’ll get hammered with it in the General Election. I can’t say he’s wrong on that one.
On Tuesday it looked like conservatives in the House Republican Conference were prepared to kill Speaker John Boehner’s proposal to end the budget ceiling stalemate. But it looks like he is building enough support to move it through the House, though it has taken some arm twisting that is most assuredly going to set off grassroots conservatives and the tea party movement:
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he ordered GOP lawmakers to “get your ass in line” behind his debt proposal during an interview Wednesday on a conservative radio show.
“My goal is to continue to work with all our members so we get them to the point where they say ‘yes,’ ” Boehner said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show.
A large number of conservative Republicans are opposing Boehner’s proposal, arguing it does not go far enough in reducing government spending.
But Boehner said he couldn’t understand why any Republicans would position themselves with Democrats opposing his plan.
“Barack Obama hates it, [Sen.] Harry Reid hates it, [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi hates it,” he said, naming off the Democratic leadership.
Boehner would have a lot of leverage ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline for lifting the debt ceiling if the House approves his bill.
“We’ll see,” Boehner said in response to the veto threat. “In the absence of any other plan, your plan becomes the plan.”
Boehner outlined his strategy to box the president into having “no choice but to sign it into law.” He said a rival proposal from Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate majority leader, did not have the support to pass Congress.
A group of conservative House Republicans, mostly members of the Republican Study Committee, are proposed a plan for debt reduction that focuses on three key points; cutting mandatory and discretionary spending, capping federal spending at 18% of GDP, and passing the Balanced Budget Amendment:
103 House Republicans sent a letter to House Republican leadership calling for a solution that could resolve the current debt limit impasse and prevent the bigger, Greece-like debt crisis just over the horizon: Cut, Cap, and Balance.
1. Cut - We must make discretionary and mandatory spending reductions that would cut the deficit in half next year.
2. Cap - We need statutory, enforceable caps to align federal spending with average revenues at 18% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with automatic spending reductions if the caps are breached.
3. Balance - We must send to the states a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) with strong protections against federal tax increases and a Spending Limitation Amendment (SLA) that aligns spending with average revenues as described above.
On Friday, the House of Representatives approved the Path to Prosperity, budget plan offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), but not before drama erupted during the vote on the Republican Study Committee’s budget, which offered even more spending cuts:
Democrats unsettled Republicans by voting “present” in a vote on a more conservative budget than the official GOP proposal put forth by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), almost enabling that bill to pass.
In the end, it failed in a 119-136 vote, with 172 Democrats voting present.
Several Republicans, including Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (Calif.) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), a member of GOP leadership, switched their votes to ensure the more conservative budget backed by the Republican Study Committee did not win approval.
As the presiding officer tried to close down the vote, about a dozen more Democrats asked to switch their vote from “no” to “present,” which nearly allowed the RSC bill to pass.
“Democrats, vote ‘present!’ ” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) shouted at his colleagues, who tried, one by one, to switch their “no” votes to “present.” Ryan, the architect of the official GOP budget, shouted “Shut it down!” in an effort to close the vote and count the tally before Democrats could switch enough of their votes to advance the amendment.
At one point, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) stood on a chair and pointed at the presiding officer to keep the vote open.
The RSC’s alternative budget resolution would cut even more deeply into spending than Ryan’s bill, and was not expected to be approved by the House.
Last night, President Barack Obama called for a five-year spending freeze in non-defense discretionary spending; hardly a bold move considering that budget deficits will surpass $6 trillion over the next 10 years. However, the Republican-controlled House earlier in the day passed a resolution that would set the budget at 2008 levels:
In a 256-165 vote, the House approved a measure instructing Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), the GOP chairman of the House Budget Committee, to set the budget for this year at 2008 spending levels or lower.
The House approved H.Res. 38 on a mostly party-line vote after rejecting a Democratic motion to recommit the resolution by a 184-242 vote.
Seventeen Democrats voted with Republicans: Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.), John Barrow (Ga.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Ben Chandler (Ky.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Jim Costa (Calif.), Jerry Costello (Ill.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Tim Holden (Pa.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Dan Lipinski (Ill.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Mike Quigley (Ill.), Mike Ross (Ark.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), and Heath Shuler (N.C.).
The vote came after another tense hour-long debate in which Democrats accused Republicans of not revealing the budget levels. Republicans countered that the resolution is the start of a process for reducing spending, not a final budget bill.
Republicans are trying to show voters that they are committed to reducing spending after winning back the House on a campaign to bring austerity to Washington. Ryan has talked about reducing spending for fiscal year 2011 by $60 billion, but some conservative Republicans have talked about making bigger cuts.