Senate Democrats

Republicans’ Rough First Day

Let’s recap: on the first day of the new Congress, Republicans were slammed by the Tea Party for backing off their promise to cut spending, called out for accepting the same health care they criticize, and  exposed for partying with lobbyists at a $2,500-per-person fundraiser at an exclusive Washington hotel. All this while Republicans continue to plan to reopen the donut hole for seniors, raise taxes on small businesses, and take away preventative services like screenings for breast cancer. All in all, probably not the first day they’d envisioned.

NY Times: Republicans Lower Goal for Cuts to Budget. “Many people knowledgeable about the federal budget said House Republicans could not keep their campaign promise to cut $100 billion from domestic spending in a single year. Now it appears that Republicans agree… Now aides say that the $100 billion figure was hypothetical, and that the objective is to get annual spending for programs other than those for the military, veterans and domestic security back to the levels of 2008, before Democrats approved stimulus spending to end the recession. Yet “A Pledge to America,” the manifesto House Republicans published last September, included the promise, “We will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone.” LINK

CBS: Tea Party Leader: Reduction in Goal for GOP Budget Cuts is an "Absolute Joke.” “It’s an "absolute joke" that Republicans in the House won’t be able to cut $100 billion from the budget this fiscal year, [Tea Party leader] Meckler said. Republicans have explained that Democrats have already locked in spending levels through March — half way through the fiscal year — making their goal of $100 billion in cuts right away unrealistic. The GOP says they will more than make up for it by the end of 2011. But Meckler said that explanation was akin to saying, "I have a $2,000 mortgage payment, so I’m going to put 50 cents in the bank." […] "Like most politicians, what comes out of their mouth during elections is not the same as what comes out in legislation," said Meckler.” LINK

Politico: House Freshman Throws A Party – And GOP Cringes. “With Republican leaders anxious to set an austere tone for their ascendance into the House majority this week, the lavish fundraiser scheduled for Tuesday night at a trendy Washington hotel to benefit a dozen GOP freshmen is not exactly the populist image leaders are anxious to project. House Speaker-elect John Boehner, whose name was featured on the invitation, is nonetheless skipping the event at the W Hotel, where lobbyists, political action committee managers and others paying the $2,500 ticket price will be treated to a performance by country music star LeAnn Rimes (a $50,000 package includes a block of eight tickets and a “VIP suite” at the W). The office of incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor, another featured invitee, was noncommittal Monday night when asked whether he’d attend. LINK

CNN: House Republicans dial back on promises. “Even before House Republicans took control of the chamber Wednesdaythere were at least three areas where they appear to be backtracking on promises made: Cutting $100 billion in the first year, allowing opportunities for the minority party to offer amendments on bills, and making public attendance records for committee hearings.” LINK

Think Progress: GOP House Member Says He Doesn’t Need To Opt Out Of Congressional Health Plan Because He’s On Medicare. “[O]f the eighty-plus incoming Republican congressmen, all of whom ran campaigns railing against the Affordable Care Act, and the hundreds of incumbent GOP lawmakers, ThinkProgress has been able to identify only five who are willing to put their money where their mouth is and turn down government health care for themselves.” LINK