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House GOP Shows Fissures On Size, Speed Of Spending Cuts

Mar 14, 2011

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Frank James

House Republicans traditionally tend to demonstrate more party discipline than their Democratic counterparts.

But they certainly aren't a monolith, with GOP members disagreeing since their party took over the House in January over the size of spending cuts.

Leaders initially proposed fewer cuts than many freshmen members wanted. The freshmen, many of them who won with Tea Party movement backing, won.

There are even differences between freshmen, however, which was demonstrated Monday by Rep. Michael Grimm of New York.

Grimm warned other House Republicans against derailing efforts to temporarily fund the government for three weeks past this week's deadline when the federal spending authority runs out.

His statement said:

The extreme wing of the Republican Party is making a big mistake with their flat-out opposition to a short-term continuing resolution. They're not looking at the big picture, and the last thing we want to do is become like Nancy Pelosi in the last Congress, where it was 'my way or the highway.' Last week's passing of the CR cut $ 4 billion and this week we will cut $6 billion. Cutting spending is going to take small steps, and each successful step must be viewed as a victory.

I know that there is some opposition to working with Senate Democrats from the extreme right of the Tea Party who would rather see a government shut-down than pass a short-term solution; however, as long as we continue to cut spending each time, we are keeping our promise to the American people to reduce the deficit and fix the economy. If we're going to do what we set out to do, we have to set realistic expectations, and cannot bow to the extreme right or left. Those views don't represent what's best for our country and they certainly do not represent the views of the majority of my district.

But Grimm may be swimming against a strong tide. Influential Republican Study Committee chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan, said he would vote against the another short-term spending bill.

"Americans sent us here to deal with big problems in bold ways. We're borrowing billions of dollars a day, yet Senate Democrats have done little more than wring their hands for the last month. With the federal government facing record deficits and a mammoth debt hanging over our economy and our future, we must do more than cut spending in bite-sized pieces.

"Democrats control both the Senate and the White House, and it's time they stopped dithering. We need swift action to deal with spending for the rest of this year. We need to stop sending taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, and we need to defund ObamaCare. And we need to start tackling next year's budget, the debt-ceiling, and other challenges standing in the way of job creation. We've made some solid first downs on spending. Now it's time to look to the end zone."

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