House passes GOP budget rollback resolution

The House today voted 256-165 to pass H.Res. 38, a resolution directing committees to cut non-security discretionary spending to 2008 levels or lower, “beginning with a down payment in the form of a continuing resolution that will fund the government at pre-‘stimulus,’ pre-bailout levels or lower for the remainder of the fiscal year,” according to House Speaker John Boehner’s office.

The vote came hours before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he’s expected to extend for another two years the three-year partial freeze of domestic programs that he suggested in 2010.

From Boehner, R-Ohio:

“I am pleased the House has committed itself to cutting Washington spending. At a time when the Treasury Secretary is begging Congress to raise the debt limit, a ‘freeze’ is simply inadequate. Rather than lock in the consequences of Washington Democrats’ job-destroying spending binge, we pledged to cut spending to pre-‘stimulus,’ pre-bailout levels and impose real spending caps. The American people have rejected the idea that we can spend and borrow our way to prosperity, as have many economists. The new majority has listened, cut Congress’s budget, and now we’re focused on keeping our pledge to cut spending to pre-‘stimulus,’ pre-bailout levels. We’ve listened, and tonight the American people will find out whether President Obama has done the same.”

Unsurprisingly, the entire Bay Area delegation voted against it (except for Mike Honda, D-San Jose, who didn’t vote). From Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto:

“The ‘budget plan’ which the Republicans propose lacks the most basic element required of a budget — numbers. In my 18 years of service in Congress and a decade in county government, I’ve never seen a budget plan with no numbers. My constituents deserve a clear strategy for reducing the deficit. The budget resolution should also be a roadmap for addressing how we can create jobs, strengthen our economy, and detailing what programs will be cut and where we will invest. These are tough decisions. They require a serious plan, not a numberless-nothing bill.”

Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, responded to the GOP bill by introducing his own H.R. 413, the “Defense and Deficit Reduction Act,” to take defense spending back to 2008 levels for the next five years. From Stark:

“We can’t be serious about reducing the deficit if we’re going to wall off 60 percent of our discretionary spending from cuts. This legislation would save $182 billion, from a sector riddled with extra planes and engines that the Pentagon doesn’t want. At a time when we are spending seven times the next closest nation on our military, we must look toward defense for waste and potential savings.”

UPDATE @ 3:13 P.M.: Here’s Stark, speaking earlier today on the House floor:

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.