Ron Johnson: House Republicans need to be on the budgetary offensive

posted at 2:41 pm on July 20, 2012 by Dustin Siggins

Last year, House Republicans were put in a tough spot during the debt ceiling debate. Just as they were finally beginning to come out with a plan to support raising the debt ceiling in exchange for solid spending cuts (Speaker Boehner was way behind the ball on that), Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) hurt their efforts by unexpectedly supporting the Gang of Six’s very moderate plan. This allowed President Obama and the liberal establishment media to play up the “Look, even conservative Senators are supporting a compromise” card, which they did. This pretty much demolished the House’s standing with a lot of non-political Americans.

This year, we seem to be heading towards a similar stand-off over taxes. Fortunately, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has a strategy to prevent it:

Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson told The Daily Caller that House Republicans must go on offense now and pass a spending plan that funds the government into 2013 or else congressional Democrats will try raising taxes in the post-election lame duck session of Congress.

“Let’s get out in front of this thing,” Johnson told TheDC. “Let’s do what’s reasonable. Let’s create some certainty.”

In a Thursday phone interview, the Wisconsin legislator argued that Republicans passing a government spending plan now will prevent Democrats from being able to use the threat of another government shutdown at the end of the year to push through tax increases.

Johnson outlined a strategy he and other conservatives are pushing that calls for House Republicans to pass a plan that includes extending Bush-era tax rates for the rest of the year before the August recess, when legislators take a month-long break.

Under this strategy, Republicans in the Senate would then put up a vote on the spending plan passed by the House. This, Johnson said, would make it harder for Democrats to argue the GOP is responsible for an impending government shutdown.

“I think this is something we can win,” Johnson said, adding, “if we get put on defense, we lose.”

Johnson is right on the money here. House Republicans can’t wait until the last minute to come out with a plan. They certainly can’t do what they did last year, which was wait until the last minute and start negotiations with a center-right plan — that means the compromise is likely to be further to the left than it has to be. While I respect Speaker Boehner’s well-intentioned goal of compromising, I think a strong, fiscally conservative plan is the correct starting point for the House. Then, if compromise must take place, it does so starting off from a conservative standpoint, not a moderate one.

The effectiveness of Johnson’s strategy would also be seen in the media. When (not if, but when) Democrats really make their big pre-election push to say Republicans are intransigent (Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) has already started), Republicans would be able to easily deflect the charge by pointing out they have completed their lawful duty to pass a budget. How can they be intransigent when they’ve done their lawful duty and Reid is playing politics for re-election purposes for the third year in a row?

P.S. Senator Coburn’s press secretary, John Hart, sent me a statement in response to a comment request. It is below.

He [Senator Coburn] agrees with Senator Johnson.  He’s often said sequestration is a stupid way to set priorities.  We need to pull the weeds (make smart and specific cuts) instead of mowing the flower beds (cutting the good programs along with the bad).  That is especially important with respect to defense spending.  There is no reason why we couldn’t have had a bill that replaced sequestration with specific cuts a year ago.  The same is true with fundamental tax reform.  We haven’t had tax reform in 26 years.  We don’t need further hearings to know the code is complicated and discourages growth.   

On spending, you can accomplish the same goal by making one cut at a time.  We would have been better off making targeted cuts and forcing Reid to defend indefensible spending, such as duplicative federal programs to teach financial literacy. 


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

“Getting out in front of the budgetary offensive” would mean actually CUTTING government spending. Something that hasn’t been done in the last fifty years.

And I’m at least a little bit positive that the GOP isn’t planning to do anything remotely close to that.

logis on July 20, 2012 at 2:46 PM

And the tax offensive. They are good for nada.

Schadenfreude on July 20, 2012 at 2:47 PM

We need to pull the weeds (make smart and specific cuts) instead of mowing the flower beds (cutting the good programs along with the bad).

Buddy, whatever flowers you think are left have long since been strangled by the rampant weeds that have overtaken the garden for years.

Hell, a mower might not even work any more; I’m thinking more along the lines of gallons of RoundUp.

thirtyandseven on July 20, 2012 at 2:55 PM

The Smoke and Mirrors economy and budgetary process will continue, until the collapse. And, even after the collapse, they’ll just create a new Smoke and Mirrors and budgetary process, and start all over again.

The only issue is how catstrophic the catastrophic collapse will be.

The Congressional Neros should just keep on fiddling.

OhEssYouCowboys on July 20, 2012 at 2:59 PM

less than two weeks before they break until September, shut it down now, we know what the problem is and we’ll sort it out in November

DanMan on July 20, 2012 at 2:59 PM

You what the biggest piece of news here is? There are more than 1 sentaors with a spine.

And with the joke made, I agree with Johnson. Take the battle to them.

nobar on July 20, 2012 at 3:03 PM

When they make “shock collars” for elected officials, then I’ll trust them to do what they were elected for.

apostic on July 20, 2012 at 3:03 PM

(Speaker Boehner was way behind the ball…)…has he ever been in front of it?…has he ever even had it in his hand?
…why is the ball always wet?

KOOLAID2 on July 20, 2012 at 3:05 PM

I am one of the Wisconsin people who haven’t regretted for one moment having voted Johnson in to take Feingold’s (gaggg) place. He is someone, like Gov Walker and Paul Ryan, who I am very proud to have in elected office representing our great state. I hope all 3 of those guys stay in representing our state, and this country, a long time.

PackerFan4Life on July 20, 2012 at 3:35 PM

I am one of the Wisconsin people who haven’t regretted for one moment having voted Johnson in to take Feingold’s (gaggg) place. He is someone, like Gov Walker and Paul Ryan, who I am very proud to have in elected office representing our great state. I hope all 3 of those guys stay in representing our state, and this country, a long time.

PackerFan4Life on July 20, 2012 at 3:35 PM

He’s fantastic. This Minnesotan is so jealous.

gophergirl on July 20, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Republican had a plan and be on offense?

Cindy Munford on July 20, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Does anyone expect the inept Boehner to get out in front of this? He’s been outmaneuvered by Reid every step of the way and he still doesn’t have a plan to take the lead.

The Republicans need a new leader in the HOuse, for sure, and also in the Senate, IMHO.

bflat879 on July 20, 2012 at 3:51 PM

He’s fantastic. This Minnesotan is so jealous.

gophergirl on July 20, 2012 at 3:38 PM

He is one of the kinds we need more of in office: somebody who has NO political experience, somebody who is a successful businessman in his own right, who doesn’t need the money, but chooses to do this now because he sees we are at a point where it’s “do or die” in Wisconsin (and in America), and has chosen to be a standard bearer and lead us away from the precipice we are nearing. Gov Walker is another one cut out of that same mold. We need more of people like them around this country to stand up and lead.

PackerFan4Life on July 20, 2012 at 3:51 PM

There is no reason why we couldn’t have had a bill that replaced sequestration with specific cuts a year ago.

No, because you wimped out Coburn…that’s why, you were not man enough to stand stall and fight those liberal dems, instead you joined them against your conservative brothers.
It won’t be because it is so obvious, but this should be a lesson to all Republicans…don’t cave in, you get nothing in return.
Liberals are liars, Reagan found that out when he passed his sweeping very well defined and supported immigration bill…that was later gutted after the dems promises of not ever, in no way, would they ever change that bill.
Reagan said it was life changing, and that he would never trust another democrat…don’t guys like Coburn ever learn??

We are in this mess because of weak kneed Republican’s…

right2bright on July 20, 2012 at 3:57 PM

We have not had a balanced budget in three years because it’s impossible to do so, my source is here.
http://United%20States%20Budget%20Dilemma.wmv%20-%20YouTube.webarchive

mixplix on July 20, 2012 at 4:13 PM

I agree with PackerFan4Life. As a True Blue Wisconsinite, I am VERY proud of the leadership that Gov. Walker, Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson have shown. They are the heroes among us.

AppletonMom on July 20, 2012 at 4:19 PM

I am one of the Wisconsin people who haven’t regretted for one moment having voted Johnson in to take Feingold’s (gaggg) place. He is someone, like Gov Walker and Paul Ryan, who I am very proud to have in elected office representing our great state. I hope all 3 of those guys stay in representing our state, and this country, a long time.

PackerFan4Life on July 20, 2012 at 3:35 PM

The $15 million question is whether we get another Johnson type to replace Nobody’s Senator Herb Kohl.

Steve Eggleston on July 22, 2012 at 8:48 AM