Lankford, Others Press Spending Cuts
From Politico/Washington ~ House Republican leaders huddled with their freshman class after votes Tuesday, a clear sign they’re working to keep their powerful rookie class on the same page as they dive into a major spending bill with tens of billions in budget cuts.
Freshmen lawmakers leaving the meeting called it a routine “listening session” and “pep talk,” as one member put it, and declined to give details on what the leadership discussed.
And, while leadership aides say the time was used to discuss parliamentary procedure — how to pass the hundreds of amendments — the meeting seemed to be a clear attempt to avoid the types of events that took place last week, when the new class staged a revolt against its leadership, forcing them to double the size of budget cuts in the continuing resolution that will keep the federal government open.
GOP leaders were also embarrassed last week by the failure of an extension of certain PATRIOT Act provisions and a U.N. funding cut measure.
For freshmen, the week is all about preparing spending cuts. While one freshman Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) predicted a “feeding frenzy of spending cuts” on Monday, lawmakers were huddling with their staffers in their offices, pitching ideas to cut spending and winnowing them down to the most winnable provisions.
“The debate has changed” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), who was pleased to hear that his plan to cut funding for a climate czar was already a part of the continuing resolution, “Rather than sitting around the table saying ‘Hey, where can we spend more money,’ maybe the folks on the other side of the aisle recognize that the conversation is now ‘Hey, where can we cut?’”
Others were preparing for a long floor debate on the amendments.
“Did you bring your sleeping bag?” asked Mick Mulvaney, a South Carolina Republican on the Budget Committee.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/49585.html#ixzz1E7AXMO7Z.