Ten Republican congressmen broke ranks with their party Thursday to side with Democrats in the House to oppose Paul Ryan’s 2014 budget blueprint.
The Budget Committee chairman's plan barely made it through the House on a 221 to 207 vote and is expected to fail in the Democratic-led Senate.
Here’s what some of the Republicans who voted against the Ryan plan – whose "voucherizing" of Medicare and tax cuts for the rich were rejected by a majority of Americans in the 2012 election – had to say:
- Joe Heck of Nevada: “There is a dire need for us to reduce spending, address the major drivers of our debt, and grow the economy by balancing the budget. I have voted to reduce spending, I have voted to repeal and replace Obamacare, and I have co-sponsored and voted for a Balanced Budget Amendment. But the policy proposals contained in this non-binding resolution indicate the priorities of this budget, and when those proposals disproportionately affect our state, my vote indicates my priority and that priority is Nevada.”
- Tom Massie of Kentucky: “The federal government’s spending is out of control, and this plan actually increases spending. Paul Ryan’s proposed House budget would increase government spending at nearly twice the rate of inflation. Our country is deep in debt, and it is irresponsible to increase spending at this rate. … I came to Washington to reduce the excessive spending of government, not to increase it. Congress has the power of the purse but refuses to spend responsibly. In the past three weeks, House members voted to continue funding Obamacare, and voted for three separate spending bills that will increase our national debt. If congressmen would just vote according to their campaign promises, we could fix the spending problem before it's too late.”
- Paul Broun of Georgia: In an op-ed published in The New York Times earlier this week, Broun wrote that Ryan’s budget is “anything but” “The Path to Prosperity” as it is titled. “It fails to seriously address runaway government spending, the most pressing problem facing our nation. I cannot vote for something that would trick the American people into thinking that Congress is fixing Washington’s spending problem, when in actuality we’d just be allowing it to continue without end. Supporters of the 'Path to Prosperity,' including many of my fellow Republicans, say that we have to stop spending money we don’t have, an idea I promote every chance I get. But under the proposal by Mr. Ryan of Wisconsin, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, the federal government would continue to spend more than it will this year.”
- Phil Gingrey of Georgia: “As we mark the third anniversary of the health care law, small business owners, families and patients are beginning to feel its impact. Obamacare is bad fiscal policy, a nightmare for patients, and a drag on the economy. Based on this grim reality, I have opposed the continuing resolution because it does not defund Obamacare and – consistent with this position – I voted against the Ryan budget because it left the enormous Obamacare taxes in place.”
- David McKinley of West Virginia: The congressman said while the House's plan does recognize the danger of federal spending and balances the budget, he has some concerns with it. Those concerns are that the House's budget “includes the Keystone pipeline and opens federal lands to energy exploration, but is silent on coal ash legislation and value of research in fossil fuels; it leaves in place $716 billion in cuts to Medicare; it lacks reform to foreign aid, but will hurt America’s investments in our own infrastructure; and Ryan's budget fails to adequately protect agencies and programs important to the First District, including the FBI and NIOSH, from disproportionate cuts.”
McKinley added that “the people of the First District sent me to Congress to represent everybody, not just one political party. With every decision and action I take in Congress, I keep this in mind. Unfortunately, too many people in Washington don’t think this way and get caught up in partisan gamesmanship. The House and Senate budgets have become prime examples of this dysfunctional gridlock. I came to Congress to get something done, not send political messages. Any solution to the challenges this country faces, whether it is deficit reduction, tax reform, or reforms to welfare or Medicare, will need to be bipartisan in nature. Unfortunately both the House and Senate budgets fail that fundamental test.”
- Rick Crawford of Arkansas: “When I told voters in my district that I will stand firm for permanent spending controls, I was serious. I applaud Representative Ryan’s budget resolution that aims to balance the budget, but I cannot support non-binding resolutions that will be changed with each new Congress. I voted against the Republican non-binding budget resolution to bring attention to Congress’s continued reliance on policies that have clearly failed and to call on my colleagues to focus instead on passing permanent spending controls. During each of the past three decades, Congress has made numerous attempts to control spending with non-binding budget resolutions and deficit control acts yet debt has skyrocketed. It is time to wake up to the harsh reality that another non-binding budget resolution is doomed to the same failed result that previous resolutions yielded – a short-term sugar high from temporary deficit reduction followed by rapidly growing debt and entitlement spending. It is time for Congress to get serious about the debt crisis and economic growth and pass permanent spending controls that will put America on a genuine path to prosperity.”
- Randy Forbes of Virginia: “I could not in good faith offer my support for this year’s House budget because I believe it fails to fund our military at an adequate level to provide for the common defense of our Nation. While this plan does take the first step toward achieving a balanced budget, reducing the deficit and canceling the $500 billion in automatic sequestration cuts that I voted against and have been fighting to reverse for the past 20 months, it accepts a defense strategy from 2012 that I and my colleagues agreed at the time was not a strategy for a superior military, but instead a menu for long-term mediocrity. If we are going to uphold our Constitutional duty, we cannot continue to insist that budget-driven cuts to our military are unacceptable, only to then accept the unacceptable and slash our spending further. Our Nation simply cannot afford to unilaterally disarm our military in a world where North Korea is testing nuclear weapons and proliferating nuclear technology, Iran is building ballistic missiles and supporting terrorist proxies, and China is rapidly modernizing its military to push the United States out of the Asia-Pacific.”
Other Republicans who opposed Ryan’s budget were Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, Chris Gibson of New York and Walter Jones of North Carolina.
Laura is a U.S. politics reporter for the International Business Times. She was always fascinated by the BBC World News each morning on the radio in Jamaica. That, and a love...