03.30.2012 2

A vote of no confidence?

By Robert Romano — What one would have given to be a fly on the wall as the House voted March 29 on the Republican Study Committee (RSC) alternative budget proposal, which ultimately found a majority of the House Republicans voting in favor of ditching the proposal favored by leadership.

By a vote of 136 to 104, Republicans clearly favored the alternate measure proposed by Rep. Scott Garrett and Rep. Jim Jordan over the plan that had been proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan.

The major difference between the two was the RSC would get the budget to balance in five years, whereas the Ryan plan would not do so until 2040. This was after Republicans pledged in 2010 to “put us on a path to balance the budget and pay down the debt.”

Surprisingly, just 49 out of 94 freshmen Republican representatives voted in favor of the RSC plan. GOP veterans actually voted in favor of the proposal at a higher rate than did the freshmen, with 87 in favor and 59 opposed, providing the margin for the RSC’s symbolic victory.

Nonetheless this could be viewed internally — and externally to anyone who cares to pay attention — as a vote of no confidence in the more tepid Ryan approach.

All of which could spell trouble for the current House leadership this year or perhaps after the 2012 election.

There is no question voters are unsatisfied with Congress’ performance in the midst of our current fiscal crisis. In Real Clear Politics’ average of recent polls, more than 80 percent disapprove of Congress.

Which is no wonder.  This is a nation where the $15.6 trillion national debt has surpassed the size of the economy for the first time since the World War II era. Where just to honor our obligations, we have to increasingly resort to a printing press.

Despite misgivings on Capitol Hill and throughout the country of the Republican response to the crisis, the Ryan plan passed easily 228 to 191.

But it stands little to no chance in the Senate, which has not passed a budget in three years. This leaves one to question why the House did not just pass their ideal version of a budget, instead of one that supposedly “has a chance”.

Perhaps, Republican leaders have decided that with a moderate approach, they can portray Democrats as extremists who cannot even abide by a tepid proposal to restore order to the nation’s fiscal house.

But such a nuance may be lost on grassroots voters who, in the end, care more about what their leaders are fighting for, not how they are portrayed by a mainstream media that is knowingly hostile.

They want to see results, and relatively quickly. Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson said he “had hoped for a bold response to the oncoming freight train of debt that threatens our nation.”

But perhaps now with a majority of House Republicans in favor of those types of bold proposals, such a response may be coming soon enough.

Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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