Boehner gets a taste of Republican budget-cutting zeal in Congress
House Speaker John Boehner got hit by the deep budget-slashing he advocates as the top Republican in Congress.
Many of Boehner’s fellow House Republicans, including a number of those backed by the anti-establishment Tea Party, voted on Wednesday to end a weapons project backed by Boehner in his home state of Ohio.
Boehner, who promised to bring wide-open debate to the House when he was elected its speaker last month, tried to brush off the setback.
“I am committed to the House working it’s will, and it did yesterday,” Boehner told his weekly news conference on Thursday.
“This is not about me. This is not about my district,” he said.
“This ought to be about the U.S. House speaking on the behalf of all Americans, both Democrats and Republicans,” he added.
The House voted to defund the weapons project as part of its bid to cut at least $61 billion from U.S. spending this fiscal year and trim the growing federal debt — creating what they say will be a healthier and more job-friendly environment.
On a vote of 233-198, the House agreed to deny $450 million for the continued development of an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Republicans were almost split on the project, which is opposed by the Pentagon and the White House. Democrats voted nearly 2-to-1 to kill it.
Loss of the project would cost jobs in Ohio, at least in the short term, something that Boehner has said will be part of the price of shrinking the government and the U.S. debt.
Earlier this week, Boehner drew fire in taking a hard line on prospects of federal workforce losses stemming from Republican cuts.
“So be it,” Boehner said, prompting complaints he was callous.
Asked about the comments on Thursday, Boehner said: “Listen, I don’t want anyone to lose their job, whether they are a federal employee or not.
“But come on. We are broke. We’ve got to make tough decisions.
“The American people sent their representatives here to Washington to make tough decisions on their behalf. We know that we can’t continue to borrow 40 cents for every dollar the federal government spends.”
Photo credit: Reuters/Jay LaPrete (Boehner in Ohio last month)