Conservatives are hoping former Rep. Rob Portman (R.-Ohio), the new director of the Office of Management and Budget, will work to reverse the administration’s big-spending ways. That hope is constrained, however, by a review of Portman’s voting record in the House.
In Bush’s first term, Portman voted for both the No Child Left Behind Act and the Medicare Prescription Drug plan. In 2004, he voted against cutting off funding for the left-wing United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. He also repeatedly voted against the alternative budgets proposed by House conservatives. Back in the Clinton years, Portman supported spending increases for government programs that never should have existed. In 1999, for example, he voted to reauthorize the Peace Corps and increase its budget. That same year, he also voted to increase spending on the Legal Services Corp., an agency that subsidizes left-wing lawyers filing politically motivated lawsuits.
Most telling, however, was Portman’s 2001 vote against an amendment proposed by conservative Rep. Cliff Stearns (R.-Fla.) that would have cut the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts by a measly $10 million. How could a committed fiscal conservative have cast that vote?