On March 25, by a vote of 116 to 309, the House rejected the Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) budget substitute amendment to the fiscal 2005 budget resolution (H.Con. Res. 393).
The RSC budget substitute, sponsored by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), would have cut non-security, discretionary spending by 1%, slowed the growth of non-Social-Security mandatory spending by one percentage-point, provided for additional tax relief, and implemented a host of budget process reforms.
While the RSC budget alternative did not pass, the majority of Republicans voted for it–including Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R.-Tex.) and Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R.-Mo.)–and it received the highest number of votes of any RSC budget alternative in recent history.
“The values and priorities of the budget I offer today are simple,” said Hensarling. “Less government and more freedom. For only the second time in a decade, we would actually reduce the size of government. It is an eternal truth that as governments expand, liberty contracts.” While striving to control the “disease of spending,” Hensarling argued that this budget would also fully fund the President’s defense and homeland security request.
Hensarling explained that this budget would promote economic growth by providing $183 billion in tax relief–only 1% of total spending–over five years. “If the Democrats truly care about budget deficits, they should focus their attention on the spending side of deficit, which represents 99 percent of the problem,” he stated.
Liberals claimed they could eliminate the deficit within ten years, while redirecting more resources “toward areas Americans care about, like education, veterans’ benefits, first responders, housing and safety net programs,” said Rep. David Price (D.-N.C.). “Our Republican friends say, ‘Aha, you do this by raising taxes on Americans.’ But rather than raise taxes, we are talking about merely freezing scheduled reductions for those making over $500,000 a year and also closing some egregious corporate loopholes. ” In other words, raising taxes on small businesses and corporations that employ millions of Americans.
Rep. Edward Markey (D.-Mass.) engaged in the age-old Democratic tactic of scaring old people. “Watch out, Grandma,” he said. “GOP used to stand for Grand Old Party. Now it stands for ‘Get Old People’??¢â???¬ ¦and that is exactly what is happening in this Republican budget.” He concluded this after discovering that RSC members would have reduced Medicaid funding (which is not necessarily for the old) and allowed American workers to keep their money.
Rep. Patrick Toomey (R.-Pa.), who is currently vying for liberal Sen. Arlen Specter’s (R.-Pa.) Senate seat, voiced his support for the RSC budget. “We should not, at a time when we are just kicking in a strong economic recovery, we should not raise taxes. This is a budget that shrinks the deficit, holds spending growth to a modest level and lowers taxes.”
While Democrats say that it is the government’s responsibility to provide health care for its citizens, conservatives are looking at spending that has increased 30% in the last three years and would like to halt this alarming and unsustainable trend.
A “yes” vote was a vote to support the RSC budget for fiscal year 2005 and beyond. A “no” vote was a vote against the substitute amendment.
|For the Amendment: 116||Against the Amendment: 309|
|REPUBLICANS FOR: 115
Davis, Jo Ann
DEMOCRATS FOR: 1
|REPUBLICANS AGAINST: 108
DEMOCRATS AGAINST: 200
INDEPENDENTS AGAINST: 1
Not Voting: 8
|REPUBLICANS (4):||DEMOCRATS (4):||INDEPENDENTS (0)|