Jerry Lewis: No Friend of Conservatives

Congress is in recess and lawmakers are back home, but House Republicans are being hit hard today from the right on the collapse of the budget last week.

This morning’s Wall Street Journal editorial attacking House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis for his refusal to go along with common-sense budget reforms riled him so much that he fired off a don’t-blame-me response to the Journal this afternoon.

In the meantime, leading conservative blogs and’s Capitol Report criticized Lewis for the budget debacle. But perhaps most troublesome for Lewis was the decision by the American Conservative Union to launch an attack late this afternoon — not only on him, but the entire House GOP leadership.

Here’s the message sent by Bill Lauderback, executive vice president of ACU:

It is becoming ever more apparent that the House Republican leadership is dangerously out of touch with the responsibilities of governing. The latest refusal by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, House Majority Leader John Boehner, and Majority Whip Roy Blunt to honor their commitment to conservatives on the budget is tantamount to surrender. The refusal by Jerry Lewis, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, to rein in spending is a slap in the face to the efforts of conservative House members, led by Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Pence, to re-instill fiscal sanity.

While it is rare for ACU to send our members an editorial, we believe that the below one, from today’s Wall Street Journal, merits your attention.

Lewis’ response to the Journal probably won’t quell the anger. His letter attempts to shift the blame away from his committee to others in the House — just as Rep. Jack Kingston (R.-Ga.), also an appropriator, attempted to do during a call with bloggers Monday, saying the Appropriations Committee had become the “whipping boy.”

Conservatives support comprehensive reform of the budget process as Lewis and Kingston talk about, but so far it’s their Appropriations Committee that is standing in the way. Such was the case last week on a proposal to budget for emergency spending.

What can you do? Call and e-mail Lewis and demand that he not stand in the way of common-sense reforms supported by the Republican Study Committee.

UPDATE — April 14: Andy Roth at the Club for Growth blog puts some meat behind my assertion about Lewis.