House Republicans: Are They Starting To Get The Message On Spending?

George Bush may be blithely ignoring the firestorm of criticism he set off when he selected Harriet Miers, but “Apocalypse Harriet” has apparently caused Republicans in the House to suddenly start to once again become attuned to the concerns of their biggest supporters.

From the Hill:

“In an apparent attempt to address any conference concerns, DeLay made an impassioned speech to his fellow House Republicans on Thursday night, according to several members in attendance. He asked conference members to hold off on launching leadership races to replace him and even took responsibility for some of the budgetary concerns that have overwhelmed congressional leaders in recent weeks.

“We lost sight on spending, and for that I apologize,” DeLay told his fellow House Republicans.

There has been growing unrest among some rank-and-file members, particularly conservatives, that Republicans in Washington have discouraged their base with increased government spending. Some members and aides are afraid that the rapidly expanding deficit could result in low GOP turnout during the critical 2006 midterm elections.

“We need to change the way we spend,” Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said. “We need to find ways to start paying for Katrina.”

Calling the immigration issue an “Achilles’ heel,” Brady said the House must also pass some form of border security this year because voters have grown frustrated with congressional inactivity on the issue.

“The frustration level is so high that we need to move now,” Brady said.

…Asked about his impression of DeLay’s speech, freshman Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) said, “He absolutely knows the temperature of the conference, and that is a rare gift.”

Even Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), an outspoken conservative who has openly challenged leadership in recent weeks to reduce federal spending, seemed pleased by DeLay’s comments at last week’s conference meeting.

“Finally, we’re all singing from the same hymnal,” he said.”

Granted, they’re talking the talk and yet to walk the walk on spending. But, given that less than a month ago, Mike Pence was reportedly being flayed by the House leadership for wanting to get the budget under control and Tom DeLay was talking about the “ongoing victory” over spending, talking the talk is a big step in the right direction.

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