CR Wrap Up: Money Left on the Table
Overall, the Appropriations Committee (both Members and staff) did an outstanding job to get the Continuing Resolution (CR) to the floor with a large amount of spending cuts ready for debate. But there was one disappointing moment for those of us who watched the floor debate closely.
Last Friday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) offered an amendment to cut an additional $22 billion from the bill in across the board cuts excluding security spending. These cuts would have completely fulfilled the Republican pledge to cut $100 billion in non-defense discretionary.*
During debate over the amendment, Republican Appropriators came down one by one to urge their colleagues to vote against the amendment. Only 7* of the 29 Republican Appropriators voted for the Jordan amendment, which failed 147-281 with 92 Republican no votes.
Many of them argued across the board cuts were the wrong approach and spending cuts needed to be to specific programs. That argument only works though if you support the individual cuts when they are before you.
During the debate last week there were 10 amendments to cut additional spending that failed because too many Republicans opposed them. If those 10 amendments had passed they would have cut an additional $1.336 billion in spending. On six of these amendments, more than half of the Republicans on the Appropriations Committee opposed the additional cuts and on the other four they were a significant block of Republicans voting against the cut.
With a $1.6 trillion budget deficit, Congress needs to take every step they can to rein in spending. This debate over the CR and the individual amendments was just the first of many legislative battles on spending.
* The $100 billion in cuts that passed the House included nearly $20 billion in security cuts.
* The seven are: Tom Graves (GA), Jeff Flake (AZ), Steve LaTourette (OH), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Kevin Yoder (KS), Denny Rehberg (MT), and Steve Austria (OH).