Brief of the Week March 2

AFTER THE SPEECH: Although Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal got lukewarm-to-negative reviews for the GOP response he delivered after Barack Obama’s address to Congress last week, Republicans in Congress generally feel that the massive new spending being pushed by the President has revived the smaller-government-less spending issue that many feel the GOP ignored in recent years. “You’re talking about an 80% increase in discretionary domestic spending over the last fiscal year,” House GOP Whip Eric Cantor (R.-Va.) told HUMAN EVENTS the day after Obama’s address. “And one week after he signed a stimulus package that cost almost $1 trillion, he is calling for a budget that also almost reaches $1 trillion. People are getting worried about who is going to pay for all this.” Cantor also pointed out increases in controversial programs contained in the Obama budget, citing as an example the National Endowment for the Arts “which gets an additional $21 million over what it received in the past fiscal year, and that’s outside of the $50 million it gets in the stimulus package.” Rep. John Shadegg (R.-Ariz.), who spoke to HUMAN EVENTS shortly after Obama and Jindal concluded their remarks Tuesday night, said “the President was very weak on details and flat wrong in some places.” Referring to Obama’s praise of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program as “health insurance,” Shadegg said that “SCHIP is not health insurance. It’s a government-run program.” Several Republican leaders have told us that the “novotes by every single Republican House member on Obama’s stimulus package has helped ­re-energize grass-roots party activists. “If we can get that ‘big goose-egg’ of Republicans who favor spending again, we’ll be on the road back to being the party of small government,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.) told us. Privately, however, many GOP lawmakers aren’t sure they can count on all of their House members to oppose Obama again.