Walking The Walk On Cutting Spending

Mike Pence and his pals over at the Republican Study Committee don’t just talk the talk on deficit like almost all the Democrats, and most of the other Republicans on the Hill, they walk the walk:

“With Congress heading into a politically perilous budget season, influential House conservatives plan this week to propose an austere alternative spending plan that would pare more than $650 billion over five years, balance the budget and drastically shrink three cabinet agencies.

The legislation, part of a push by some Republicans to re-establish themselves as champions of fiscal restraint, was taking shape as President Bush struck a similar theme on Monday by asking Congress to grant him line-item veto power to eliminate federal spending that he might judge wasteful.

“We can’t be all things to all people when it comes to spending the taxpayers’ money,” Mr. Bush said at a ceremony installing a new chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

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But House conservative leaders would go far beyond the president’s own budget proposal, illustrating the difficulty the White House and the Republican leadership have had in persuading the caucus to speak with one voice on the matter.

Senior aides say the conservatives’ plan would wring about $350 billion from Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs and save $300 billion partly through a major reorganization of the Education, Commerce and Energy Departments.

…Under the proposal, expected to be introduced by Representative Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana, and Representative Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas, military spending would continue to rise, administration tax cuts would be protected and Social Security would be spared. But many other programs and foreign aid would be greatly scaled back.

The authors of the proposal describe it as a sequel to the Contract With America, which helped catapult Republicans to power in 1994. An outline of the plan says the proposals require “tough choices, but members have expressed a serious desire to do the hard things to save America.”

This is not only great policy, it’s great politics. Even if you can’t get a package like this through Congress because the Democrats and a few RINOS vote against it, it still works in the GOP’s favor if the vast majority of Republicans get behind it. That’s because everyone in both parties claims to be serious about deficit reduction, but legislation like this is what allows the American people to separate the men from the boys.

Cutting spending is popular with the American people, it’s popular with the base, and it’s the right thing to do. That’s why every Republican, starting with George Bush, should get behind this legislation.

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