"Read My Lips": Don’t Blink, Cut Spending

In conservative circles, “read my lips” is a loaded phrase that invokes President George H.W. Bush’s broken promise and subsequent tax increase.  Republican lawmakers understand the connotation, which is why many observers were shocked when Speaker John Boehner invoked the phrase, saying: “read my lips, we’re going to cut spending.”

The battle lines are now drawn.  By invoking that phrase, Speaker Boehner sent a clear message to the American people: House Republicans will not, under any circumstance, back down.  Heritage Action strongly supports Speaker Boehner’s principled stand.

Last week, the House passed a funding measure that would cut $61 billion in spending below current levels.  President Obama issued a veto threat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the cuts “unworkable” and “even more draconian than we originally anticipated.”  Instead, Mr. Reid wants a continuing resolution that will continue to fund the government at current levels.

Heritage Action believes any short-term funding measure must contain cuts that are, at minimum, on par with the House-passed bill and all the appropriation riders that block implementation of Obamacare, EPA action on global warming, etc.

And Speaker Boehner made clear the House will not “move any kind of short-term CR at current levels.”  Of course, as the Politico points out, Mr. Reid’s position is the polar opposite: “sign off on the status quo or risk being blamed for a shutdown.”

Let’s be crystal clear about what is going on here: Washington liberals are determined to shut down the government in order to avoid cutting federal spending. Mr. Reid and his fellow big-government liberals are proposing to lock in our current recklessly high levels of spending with a 30-day continuing resolution that kicks the can down the road and avoids tough decisions. Moving a short-term funding measure that does not enact real cuts is unacceptable.

The message sent on November 2nd was clear: cut spending and rein in out of control government. Liberals in Congress and the Administration are determined to thwart the will of the people by locking in the status quo spending. Like their counterparts in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, New Jersey and more and more states by the day, Washington liberals are completely out of touch clinging to their ideological beliefs while the country racks up huge deficits and our children’s futures are mortgaged.

Speaker Boehner is right to draw a line in the sand in the same way that practical conservative Governors across the country are doing. November 2nd was about upending the status quo and restoring fiscal sanity. It was about installing people in public office who had the stomach to make the tough decisions needed to avoid fiscal ruin. And it was about speaking plainly to the American people about what must be done.

Speaker Boehner is right to stand with the American people. He must not blink.

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