Roskam Urges Democrats to Join in Spending Cuts While Majority of Dems Vote Against Pelosi on Cuts

-By Warner Todd Huston

Significantly 104 House Democrats voted in favor of the GOP led temporary budget plan that is now on its way to the Senate. This majority of House Dems voted against former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, Calif.) who voted against the cuts. Even Dem. Number two man Steny Hoyer (D, Maryland.) voted in favor of the GOP’s continuing Resolution budget plan.

The remaining moderate Democrats that were not swept from Congress in the 2010 midterms are worried that Pelosi is marginalizing herself by catering to the far left and not trying to appeal to the centrist voters that fled for the GOP.

On Tuesday I spoke to House Majority Chief Deputy Whip Congressman Peter Roskam (R, Illinois) and he said that this vote was an important first step toward a more fiscally responsible budget. It was also important for the legitimacy of the GOP led House, too. “Imagine how the media would be spinning this if we didn’t take this step toward cuts,” he said.

Roskam is also warning the White House, the Senate, and the Democrat Party that if they don’t accept the temporary budget bill passed by the House that the Democrats will be responsible for actively engineering a government shutdown.

Saying that the “$61 billion is a good first step,” Roskam urged Congress to continue pursuing more cuts. “There is no need to try and borrow and spend your way into prosperity, it doesn’t work,” Roskam said. “Short term [budgeting] is not optimal and as we go forward we are willing to talk about serious budget cuts for the next step.”

One of the ways to pursue more cuts, Roskam said, is to go after “the low hanging fruit” in duplicative programs that are spread so widely throughout government.

But I think the GAO – that report really echoes what a lot of folks, and really the country in general, is saying. There’s just no question that over the years there’s been one duplication after another, and there’s a great deal of waste in the federal budget.

In a recent statement Roskam went further:

The House has now acted twice in ten days to ensure that the government can both continue to operate and reduce spending – making cuts that remove barriers to job creation. I’m encouraged by Senate Democrats’ tentative openness to accept these short-term cuts and not force a government shutdown – but they still have yet to produce a plan to cut spending or take a vote to prevent a shutdown. The American people deserve to see Senate action on both the two-week resolution and the original seven-month resolution that makes $100 billion in important spending cuts – cuts which would reduce barriers to job creation. We simply can’t preserve the status-quo and the failed policies of the past.

Today’s sobering Government Accountability Office report made that painfully clear, showing potentially hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on duplicative government programs. I don’t see how anyone in Congress could balk at meaningful spending cuts that will help our economy – it’s what my constituents want and our country needs.

As mentioned above, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) tends to agree with Roskam’s assessment. This week the GAO has identified 15 different agencies that cover food-safety laws, more than 20 programs for the homeless, and 80 economic development programs, among others.

“Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of tax dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services,” the report said.

Roskam hopes to open a dialog about identifying and eliminating this duplicative spending that could save government billions of dollars annually.

Additionally, contrary to claims by Obama and his Party, Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke also said that the cuts being offered by Republicans does not harm the economy.

A recent report released by Goldman Sachs claimed that the GOP cuts would slow economic growth, but Bernanke said this is not true.

“Two percent [reduction in growth] is enormous and would be based on $300 billion in cuts,” Bernanke told the panel in his semiannual report to Congress. “Sixty billion to $100 billion isn’t sufficient to create that kind of effect.”

Roskam and the Republican House leadership are continuing a push for more cuts. “The entire conversation in Washington has changed,” Roskam said. “It used to be thought we could spend money and create prosperity that way. Yet now the conversation has changed. Obama even said he wanted to freeze spending for 5 years but even that has been wholeheartedly rejected. For the first time we want to have real cuts and savings. So far we got $4 billion in cuts,” Roskam told me. Roskam promised more is to come.

“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

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