On the RedState website, Club for Growth President Chris Chocola wonders whether the GOP wants to cut spending or not, and asks why 18 members of Congress (including such stalwart conservatives as Randy Forbes, Scott Rigell, and Mac Thornberry) have voted for the Blackburn Amendment but not the Flake Amendment.
What are those?
Well, on Wednesday, June 6th, the House was debating, and ultimately passed, the Energy and Water Appropriations bill for FY2013. That included debating, and voting on, amendments to the bill, including the Second Flake Amendment and the Second Blackburn Amendment.
Jeff Flake’s second amendment to the bill would’ve cut its spending by 0.27% across the board, but that would be just 0.27%, a tiny cut from a relatively small Appropriations bill. Marsha Blackburn’s second amendment would’ve cut the bill across the board by a full 1%.
While both amendments were, sadly, defeated, Ms Blackburn’s second amendment, i.e. the BIGGER spending cuts, received more votes, including more votes from Republicans, than Flake’s. Specifically, 18 Republicans who voted against Flake’s spending cut voted for Blackburn’s, which would be 4 times deeper (although it still would be just 1%).
So 18 Republicans voted against a milder spending cut but supported a deeper one.
Why is the Club for Growth surprised? Might it have been because these Republicans thought it was better to cut spending deeper, as Marsha Blackburn proposed, and not as mildly as Jeff Flake (a fitting surname, BTW – he’s a flake indeed) proposed, by a paltry 0.27%?
This is utterly illogical on the Club’s part. Recall that, just a few months ago, the Club urged all members of Congress to vote against the Ryan Budget Plan (on the grounds that it would not cut spending deeply or quickly enough), while urging them to vote FOR the RSC plan and for the Toomey, Lee, and Paul budget plans, all but one of which (the Toomey Plan, titled Restoring Balance) were rejected by the houses of Congress where they originated by huge bipartisan margins?
Remember, the Club for Growth was (and still is) saying that the Ryan Plan was not cutting spending deeply enough, while these other plans were, so the Ryan Plan should be opposed while the other plans should be supported. That reasoning is understandable. But it is not understandable, and even illogical, that the Club takes umbrage with those who have applied the same logic to the Energy & Water Appropriations Bill: that it must be cut at least as deeply as Marsha Blackburn has proposed to, and that a tiny 0.27% cut will not do.
On the other hand, if the Club for Growth thinks that Republicans should vote for EVERY spending cut, no matter how mild it may be, there is NO excuse for it to oppose the Ryan Plan, which would cut far more out of the federal budget (in absolute numbers and relatively to its current size) than either Flake’s or Blackburn’s amendments.