On Friday, 92 Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, joined all of the Democrats to defeat an amendment offered up by Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn to ensure the GOP lived up to its “$100 billion in cuts” pledge.This was a failure of leadership, particularly by Eric Cantor.Blackburn’s amendment, by its own description, would have “reduce[d] spending by 5.5% in 8 non-securiy spending subsections of the bill and reduce[d] Legislative Branch appropriations by 11%.”In other words, just as Republicans pledged to bring spending down to 2008 levels, Congresswoman Blackburn’s amendment would have ensured it happened across the board, save for security matters.Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy joined Democrats to oppose this. Other Republicans took to the floor to call Rep. Blackburn and her conservative colleagues “lazy” for wanting across the board cuts.When I noted that Cantor and McCarthy joined Democrats, Cantor’s Press Secretary, Brad Dayspring, emailed me as follows:
It’s astounding to me that in the largest spending fight battle of all time, you find ways to attack other conservatives. Even more surprising is that during a week when Republicans led on entitlement reform, you resorted to attacking Conservatives. To address your attack here, Cantor voted against the Jordan amendment because during a week in which the House will pass the largest spending cut in his lifetime, this additional across the board measure avoided singling out specific programs for cuts. A few weeks ago, he told Chairman Jordan that the he thought that amendments should specify specific programatic cuts, and this particular amendment did not.
Let me break this down:
It’s astounding to me that in the largest spending fight battle of all time, you find ways to attack other conservatives.
Actually, I attacked Republicans, not conservatives. Confusing the two to give conservative bona fides where none are deserved got us into this mess in the first place.
Even more surprising is that during a week when Republicans led on entitlement reform, you resorted to attacking Conservatives.
Again, I attacked Republicans. It was actually Eric Cantor who managed a House Republican conference that went all in joining Democrats attacking conservatives as lazy, among other charges.
To address your attack here, Cantor voted against the Jordan amendment because during a week in which the House will pass the largest spending cut in his lifetime, this additional across the board measure avoided singling out specific programs for cuts.
On November 3, 2010, the same Eric Cantor spoke with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric and said:
“We have put on the table an attempt to put discretionary spending back to 2008 levels, and that means an across-the-board reduction in spending.“
In 2007, Marsha Blackburn offered up a similar piece of legislation which would have, by its description, “[made] 1 percent across-the-board rescissions in non-defense, non-homeland-security discretionary spending for fiscal year 2007.”Eric Cantor co-sponsored it.In fact, both in 2005 and 2007, Eric Cantor co-sponsored 3 similar Blackburn bills each session of Congress to make across board cuts of 1%, 2%, and 5%. See here and here and here and here and here and here.It is increasingly clear there are 147 conservatives in the House of Representatives, make it 148 depending on which way the polling blows Eric Cantor — the leader of House Republicans who sided with all 189 Democrats to defeat a measure he has three previous times co-sponsored.