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First things . . . Richard Falknor on 30 Mar 2012 08:30 pm

Five Virginia GOP Representatives: Timid to Worse on the Budget

“The CBO estimates that this [Ryan] budget will produce annual surpluses by 2040 and begin paying down the national debt after that.” Path to Prosperity (Scroll to 84.)

Last Monday — in our post We’re Out of Time: “Politically OK” Fiscal Fixes Aren’t Enough Now — we quoted Mark Steyn–

“The Democrats’ plan is to have no plan, and their budget is not to budget at all. ‘We don’t need to bring a budget,’ said Harry Reid. Why tie yourself down? ‘We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution,’ the treasury secretary told House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan. ‘What we do know is we don’t like yours.’

Nor do some of Ryan’s fellow conservatives. Texas congressman Louie Gohmert, for whom I have a high regard, was among those representatives who appeared at the Heritage Foundation to express misgivings regarding the Ryan plan’s timidity. They’re not wrong on that: The alleged terrorizer of widows and orphans does not propose to balance the budget of the government of the United States until the year 2040. That would be 27 years after Congressman Ryan’s current term of office expires.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

This Week:  The Ryan Plan and Substitute Proposals

On Wednesday and Thursday, the GOP-led House of Representatives voted on several budget proposals, among them the Republican Study Committee (RSC) plan designed to balance the budget in five years, and the GOP-leadership-endorsed Ryan Budget of which the Heritage Foundation wrote

“The critical point, after all, is to reduce spending, which drives all other fiscal problems. Over the long term, the [Ryan] budget brings spending down from its unsustainably high level of 23.4 percent of GDP this year to 19.3 percent in 2018. Spending then edges back upward as more baby boomers retire—reaching 19.8 percent of GDP in 2022—but remains below 20 percent (the average of the past 50 years). By 2040, spending is down to 18.75 percent of GDP.

As noted earlier, ‘grandfathering the grandparents’ and not tackling Social Security makes it much more difficult to reduce spending more and thus balance the budget before the late 2030s. (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Here is the final House vote on the passage of the Ryan budget yesterday. 228 Republicans voted yea.

Another proposed budget substitute on the House floor this week was the bi-partisan Cooper-LaTourette budget described by Heritage Action here. (The Bipartisan Policy Center offers a contrasting view of Cooper-LaTourette here.)

Daniel Horowitz (Madison Project) yesterday walked us through three of the substitute proposals to the Ryan budget voted on Wednesday:  Cooper-LaTourette (under the Simpson-Bowles rubric); Obama’s Budget; and the Congressional Black Caucus Budget.

Analyst Horowitz declared

“Every single Republican in Washington is committed to doing everything in his or her power to terminate Obamacare, right?  Wrong!

Last night, 16 Republicans from the ‘pale-pastel caucus’ voted for the Simpson-Bowles budget alternative in the form of the Cooper-LaTourette amendment.  This budget fully funds Obamacare.  Period.  There would have been more supporters if not for the fact that Heritage Action and other organizations scored against the vote.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“As an aside, the Simpson-Bowles budget also raises $1.2 trillion in taxes to feed the voracious bureaucracy, fails to deal with the major drivers of the deficit, cuts the military, and fails to close one agency or abolish a single program.  The amendment was defeated 38-382; 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans voted for it.  The list of Republican supporters is below the fold. And no, they’re not all from swing districts.

In addition to the Simpson-Bowles budget, the House held votes on several other proposals.  The final vote on the underlying bill – the Ryan budget – and the RSC alternative will take place later on Thursday [yesterday]. ”

Veteran GOP appropriator from Virginia’s 10th District Frank Wolf voted for the Cooper-LaTourette amendment.

Here is Mr. Wolf’s statement.

After the Thursday votes on the RSC and Ryan budgets, Horowitz then gave us an An Illustration of What is Wrong With House GOP Conference

“The RSC budget was defeated earlier today, but the good news is that it garnered the support of 136 Republicans, 56% of the conference.  Or did it?  Take a look at this summation from The Hill of the roll call vote and ask yourselves what we are supposed to think about the leadership within the conference:

‘Members rejected the RSC proposal in a 136-285 vote in which 136 Republicans supported it and 104 Republicans opposed it. That’s more support than the RSC budget received last year, when 119 Republicans favored it and 120 opposed it.

The increase was due mostly to the decision by Democrats to vote against it rather than to vote ‘present,’ as they did last year. In 2011, most Democrats voted ‘present’ at the last minute, causing a chaotic scene in which many Republicans were forced to oppose the proposal lest it pass over Ryan’s budget, which was preferred by leadership. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) appeared to thwart the ‘vote present’ strategy this year by holding down the GOP vote totals until after the electronic vote had closed. Once the clock had ticked down, at least ten GOP members voting against the amendment switched to ‘yes.’”

At the very least, it shows that our efforts to educate Republican voters about their members’ voting records is working.  At the very worst, it means that we need to find more innovative ways to expose them as frauds.”

(Horowitz takes his analysis a step further with his “RSC Budget Vote Flippers.”)

Here is the recorded House vote yesterday on the Republican Study Committee(RSC) proposal.

Virginia GOP Representatives Robert Wittman, Randy Forbes, Robert Hurt, Eric Cantor, and Frank Wolf voted against the RSC budget.

Virginia GOP Representatives  Scott Rigell,  Bob Goodlatte, and Morgan Griffiths supported the tougher, faster RSC approach.

Not unexpectedly, both Maryland GOP Representatives Roscoe Bartlett and Andy Harris voted for the RSC budget.

The Future of America

Speaker John Boehner and the top two members (Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy) of the House GOP leadership favor the much weaker Ryan approach even though it is preferred by arguably fewer than half of House Republicans. We can only conclude this Republican leadership dwells in a Beltway World whose diminished calculus bears little connection to our safety or that of the Republic.

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Note: For a more in-depth discussion of these spending and taxing matters, see “Saving the American Dream: The Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity.” As Heritage explains:
“It [the Heritage plan] balances the nation’s budget within a decade—and keeps it balanced. It reduces the debt and cuts government in half. It eliminates government-mandated health care and fully funds our national defense. It squarely confronts Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the three so-called entitlement programs, which together account for 43 percent of federal spending today.  To encourage Americans to become more fiscally responsible, the Heritage plan redesigns our entire tax system into an expenditure tax that will have a single, flat rate. This is a structure that will promote savings, therefore benefiting individual Americans, our body politic, and the economy.”

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