Earlier today at the Republican conference, House conservatives made their case to Speaker John Boehner, urging him to cut at least $100 billion from the federal budget this fiscal year. Rep. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R., Wyo.), and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), among others, spoke up.
Within hours, it was reported that the leadership, under pressure, agreed to reduce spending by $100 billion below President Obama’s budget request. According to CNN, House leaders are currently working with the Republican Study Committee (RSC), appropriators and others to devise a “unified” strategy. In coming days, aides predict, the increased cuts will be attached to a continuing resolution to fund the government after the current CR expires March 4.
This complicates the current proposed spending numbers in the House, which were set last week by Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan. Ryan’s plan sets a spending ceiling for the remainder of the fiscal year, reducing non-security discretionary spending $58 billion from Obama’s (never enacted) budget request. As RSC members push for more, Ryan’s initial numbers may become simply the first draft of a final package.
Foxx, in an interview with National Review Online, confirmed that there is a movement in the conference to follow through on the $100 billion in cuts promised in the ‘Pledge for America,’ the GOP’s key 2010 campaign document.
“There is a very strong consensus within the conference that we made a promise and we should keep that promise,” Foxx says. “My understanding is that the leadership agrees with us.”
For the moment, however, it is unclear how Republicans will enact the cuts. “There have been differences of opinion expressed as to whether we should do programmatic cuts or across-the-board cuts,” Foxx acknowledges.
But Ryan’s numbers, Foxx says, are by no means a final product. “I do not know where Paul’s numbers came from,” she replies, when asked whether Ryan’s budget was set by the leadership. “I can’t explain to you why there is a difference between what Paul brought up last week and what the number will be when the continuing resolution comes up.” The numbers, she says, are fluid, with much debate to come within the caucus.
“People want to make it clear that we believe that we heard a message in November that we need to cut spending,” Foxx says. “We wanted to make sure that everybody is one the same page, and as of now, I believe that is becoming the case.”