Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lankford Et Al Face Decision: Fight For Huge Budget Cuts They Campaigned For, Or Fall In Line

Congressman James Lankford
From The Hill ~ Each of the 87 House Republican freshmen faces the same choice heading into the climactic week of the 2011 budget battle — to fight or fall in line.

The freshman class, vaunted for its unprecedented size and its Tea-Party ties, has been caught between party leadership nudging it toward compromise on one end and anti-spending activists clamoring for a clash on the other.

In the coming days, fresh GOP faces will have to decide whether or not to support spending cuts likely to be a far cry from what they had demanded.

The freshmen began the spending skirmish as the instigators: their demand for deeper cuts sent Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and GOP leaders back to the drawing board, resulting in a House bill that would slash $61 billion from federal spending — nearly twice the amount leadership had initially proposed.

“I made the statement to multiple people at the beginning, ‘When you meet the freshman class, we are as diverse as America.’ And the one common thing you see among the freshmen is none of us came to increase debt.” ~ Congressman James Lankford, as quoted by Politico.

Six weeks later, the stalemate goes on, delivering a sobering reality check to the increasingly frustrated insurgents. “I had hoped we would be finished with this debate by now,” Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), one of two freshman representatives in the leadership, said in an interview.

“I didn’t come here to play patty-cake or to do business as usual in Washington,” added Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.). “I have been very patient in learning the ropes,” he said. “And what I see is exactly what my constituents warned me about, and that is business as usual is counterproductive.”

Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said Boehner often refers to reports asserting that the freshmen have forced his hand on spending.

“He’s laughed and said, ‘I’m hearing out there in the reports that I’m being painted into a corner. I appreciate you guys painting me into a corner, because I was standing here anyway,’ ” Lankford said. “This is already where he wants to be.”

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